After listening to many a talking heads spill about how bad the Cardinals would be this season, how they had no chance in their own division, how they were contenders for the #1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, how a team with seemingly no QB and a bad Offensive Line could never be successful, and how our defense would never be as good as we thought.... Ill admit, a certain amount of doubt crept over me. Nothing close to how bad the national media were making us out to be, but my expectations really tempered. I went from the high of finishing the season 7-2 and believing that we could certainly finish with 10+ wins this season and take back the division, to thinking maybe we will start off rough due to the QB situation and ultimately end up at .500 again. Let me make it clear that no matter what, I have supported and have complete faith in this team. My pre season analysis of our final record was 8-8 worse and 11-5 best, but I had maintained the stance that we would go 10-6, even through some of the uncertainty shoved our direction from the "experts."
When I first saw the schedule this is how I guessed it would play out.
Week 1 VS Seattle- Win
Week 2 @ NE- Loss
Week 3 VS Philly- Win
Week 4 VS Miami- Win
Week 5 @ St Louis- Win
Week 6 VS Buffalo- Win
Week 7 @ Minn- Loss
Week 8 VS SF- Win
Week 9 @ GB- Loss
Week 11 @ ATL- Loss
Week 12 VS St Louis- Win
Week 13 @ NYJ- Win
Week 14 @ Seattle- Win
Week 15 VS Detroit- Loss
Week 16 Vs CHI- Win
Week 17 @ SF- Loss
At the beginning of the year, most people would have said i was a homer, and even Ill admit that those were lofty expectations for a team with seemingly so many questions.
Can our defense play up to its potential? Who will our QB be and what kind of production will we get? How will our O Line look this year? Are our RBs going to be healthy for the season opener? Was the last 9 games of last season a fluke or luck?
Well people, most of these questions have been answered IMO.
YES!!!! Our defense can play up to potential.... and it turns out their potential is alot higher then I even imagined. IDK who our QB is but it doesnt matter because we can win with both. Our Oline has looked better then anyone could have imagined. No, our RBs were not healthy and ready for week 1, but it doesnt matter cause we can win anyways. No, the end of last season was not a fluke, this team is for real.
I know its a little early after only 2 weeks but lets face it, the first 2 weeks were going to be a big test. We faced a top 10 D and a very tough opponent in the Seagulls. Their offense may be in the same boat as ours, but there D is also very good, not as good as ours, but top 10. I knew our D would hold up against their O, the real test was to see what our offense could do against their D and their self proclaimed "best secondary in football." Well we passed the test. We didnt light them up by any stretch of the imagination, but our offense showed that it could do enough to put points on the board against a very good, underrated Defense.
Headed into NE, many people were talking about how NE had a very improved defense to match the offense we have all grown up to hate. Many analysts and experts pegged NE defense as a top 10 unit in their pre season rankings. This game would be the ultimate test. Our offense against a good, not great D, but our Defense was going to have to put up or shut up against one of, if not THE BEST, offense in the league. Again, we passed with flying colors! We all saw our Defense straight man handle the patriots in their house, and make Tom Brady and that electric Patriots offense look like Russel Wilson and that mediocre Seattle offense. We went in their and played a pretty complete game. If it wasnt for a Ryan Williams fumble in the last minutes of the game, Patriots would have had absolutley no shot at all to win that game. That my friends is domination.
So here we are looking at Week 3. We have Philly coming into the Birdcage. The most overrated team IMO, is Philly. The luckiest team throughout the first 2 weeks of the season IMO, is Philly. The team that is ranked top 10 in every Week 2 power poll that will not make the playoffs this season IMO, is Philly.
Despite all that, this is the NFL. No game is easy, no game is handed to you (unless Ryan Williams has the ball in crunch time), no team is gonna roll over and let you win.... no matter what. Id imagine that after we went into their house last season and totally embarassed them and forced them to show their true colors, they will be looking to come into our house and do the same. Well.... Good luck with that Philly, thats all I gotta say.
After this tough, hard fought win against Philly, where are we?
We are 3-0 after nobody gave us a chance. 3-0 after the experts said we would start off 0-3. 3-0 with the "worse Oline and 2 backup QBs." 3-0.......
Let that sink in for a minute.
This is where our schedule eases up a bit. Our next 4 games are Miami, St Louis, Minnesota, and Buffalo. Like I said above, no game is a given, no matter who your playing. But with the quality of football we have seen from OUR Arizona Cardinals, there is no way I can pick any of these 4 teams to beat us.
Miami in AZ should be the easiest game of all. Traveling to St Louis will be a tough game and probably a close win, but St Louis is nowhere near as good as us. Traveling to Minny always presents challenges as we all know, but this feels like the year we end that, we have never taken a team this good, this complete to Minny. Buffalo in AZ should be an entertaining battle. They have a nice team, not a great team, but what looks like a .500 team..... lets not finish on the wrong side of their column.
So here we are, 7-0. Thats right, I said the Arizona Cardinals are sitting at 7-0 with some impressive victories against some good opponents. By this point in time, you might catch a 15 second clip on ESPN about our Cardinals. Maybe a Fiztgerald TD catch followed by 13 seconds of the opposing team completing passes or running against us. Maybe a shot from Timmy Hasslebeck proclaiming that the cardinals are lucky and their is no way they can keep it up, especially with SF coming up next.
Thats right I said SF. Week 8. UofP Stadium. 5:30 PM. ESPN. MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Grab your umbrellas cause its going down!!!!!!!!!
After getting of to a tremendous start, and being one of MAYBE a handful of teams still undeafeated, we will face perhaps our toughest challenge thus far. A divisional game at home on national TV, against our best divisional opponent, and one of the best teams in football period. No I dont think SF is as good as they are made out to be by the media. If they were, then lets just give them the trophy now and call it a season. BUT....... I do feel like they have a better team then last year and they are a legit contender, as are we. I feel like SF and AZ are very similar and very close in terms of talent, style of play, and toughness. This game will be a war no matter what. Dockett will make sure of that, even if we are down 30 in the first quarter.
As good as i think SF is, and as much respect as I give them (which they have earned), this game is winnable. Ill say we have a %70 chance to get the victory. If we play up to Arizona Cardinals standards, and leave everything out on the field (fans included.... if your going please be LOUD!!!!!!!), we shall walk away victorious. If we play turnover prone, sloppy, un disciplined football... we will lose. If you give the Niners a chance to win, trust me, they will run with it and win the game. So after a hard fought game Im chalking this up as a Win.
Now we head to GB, and I just feel like this could be a let down game. We will all feel invincible after beating SF on monday night football to go 8-0 undefeated. Not to mention this is a short week after playing Monday. GB is in mid season form, and barring some un expected injury to a key player on their squad, their offense proves to much to handle and they beat us, albeit by a slight margin. ESPN goes crazy with the "AZ is who we thought they were" spew, although we are 8-1. We are proclaimed the worse team to go 8-1 in the history of professional sports, ESPN rumor central starts buzzing about Ken Whiz being on the hot seat, ESPN questions why Fitz is dealing with this mess in AZ, Mike Sando makes his bold prediction of the week "Cardinals will not make the playoffs", and we return to the laughing stock of the NFL.
After going 8-0 and somehow still only being #10 on most power polls, we drop to #28 after the loss in GB and our future looks bleak.
With a trip to Atlanta, the cardinals have a chance to prove the doubters wrong for the 3,117 time, and show that they can beat a high powered offense. ATL is playing good football, and this game can honestly go either way. So im marking this one down as a ?. You can use you judgement and opinion and give the W to whom you feel is worthy.
Things lighten up as we come back home and take on a St Louis team who is coming off consecutive losses and whose young squad is giving up. Cardinals are either 9-2 and 10-1 depending on how you got the ATL game ending.
Week 13 we head to New York to face on the J-E-T-S. JETS. JETS. JETS. I dislike the Jets. I think they are perhaps the second most over rated team in the NFL after Philly, and we thoroughly whoop their ass so bad that all ESPN can do is talk about Tim Tebow.
Ugh oh... *gulp*..... headed to the 12th man. Where teams have went in and never came out. Where the noise is so loud, its said to cause damage to the ear drums of Seahawks opponents, where one time a fan got ejected for gloriously showering Marshawn Lynch with Rainbow colored sugar candies.
All joking aside, Seahawks are tough to beat at home. If you believe in home field advantage, then Seattle is truly one of the hardest places to play. They are a tough group, but they are a little to young, and lacking some talent in some key areas to beat us, even though its in Seattle. After all, the only reason they beat us there last season was because Mr. Jay "I stay in the weight room doing upper body workouts to keep this toned physique in case I am ever called upon to single handedly score 20+ points for my team to win a game, in which I have to shed blockers and take tackles and act like a real football player not just a kicker, so i never practice kicking" Feeley missed 2 FGs. Im going to chalk this one up as a win, although this could be an upset game for sure.
Here comes Detroit. I used to be a little scared of them. But seeing how one dimensional they are on offense, and how bad they still are on defense. Im calling this one a win. Take Megatron out of the game and you win the game. I believe this is the same situation as the one we faced going against NE. Our strong D VS their strong O. and our Weak O VS their weak D. I just feel like our weak O is stronger then their weak D. So this is a win.
Week 16 is against the Bears. I really have no idea about this one. i want to call it a win, but it depends what Bears team shows up. Im just gonna chalk this one up as a loss because we should have already pretty much made the playoffs at this point.
Week 17. The Rematch. SF is pissed that we beat them on Monday night football. They come out with a vengeance at thier place of residence and still only beat us by a fake punt TD throw to Michael Crabtree. Sound familiar? Thats how they beat St Louis in week 17 last season lol.... those bastards.
After all the negative press we got leading up to the season. After all the non press we got after dominating NE in Fozboro, after being named underdogs at home to a team that has 9 turnovers and have won by a combined 2 points in the first 2 games of the season, we say F8ck it and come out ballin.
We have the defense, offense, special teams, and a schedule that looks like it is possible for us to get up to 12 and possibly 13 wins this season. I say worse case scenario we go 10-6. Best case 12-4.
Im hoping that we can pull an 11-5 season out of our asses, and I really dont feel like that is absurd at this point. I know, I know... its early. And if we somehow lose to Philly in week 3, this whole post will change to doom and gloom and how I hate coach Whiz and we will be lucky to go .500. But from what i have seen from us thus far, we have all the makings of a legit, playoff contender. Our division is a two horse race (sorry Seattle, I know you guys really want to be good, maybe next year), and we have a better shot then most analysts have brainwashed you into believing.
Of course there are un-forseen situations that can change the results tremendously such as injury, etc. But you cant expect those to happen so for now, this is how I feel about our 2012 AZ Cardinals. I will prolly update this throughout the course of the season if I feel like it so...... Go Cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What do you guys think?