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Arizona Cardinals: Poised to Soar or Massively Disappoint in 2008?

Depending on which NFL season preview magazine you pick up or website site you read, you could see the Birds from the desert projected to be as good as 10-6 (Pro Football Weekly), maybe even 11-5, or being as bad as 5-11 (Sporting News & Mocking the Draft). 

It's not hard to understand why people aren't ready to jump on the Cardinals bandwagon after their first non-losing season since 1998. The past several seasons the Cardinals have a been a 'dark horse' break out team for countless pundits only to be disappointed with another losing season. They haven't had back to back non-losing seasons since 1983 & 1984, and even those two seasons only combined for a 17-14-1 record. Many Cardinals fans, myself included, weren't even alive the last time the team won more than 10 games (1976) or won a division crown (1975). BUT, does that mean that it can't be done, of course not.

The Cardinals have an explosive offense that ranked 7th in points scored and 12th overall in 2007 and every starter is returning for 2008. There's no reason to think that with the continued development of the offensive line that the offense can't be just as dynamic. On defense, the Cardinals struggled as the year went on thanks to a rash of injuries. As a result the team spent the off season bolstering the depth of the entire front seven and should improve greatly on a unit that finished the season ranked 27th in points allowed. The mix of youth and experience has the potential to surprise opponents, not only by being once again stout against the run (ranked 9th in '07) but also by being able to attack the quarterback in order to improve one of the worst pass defenses from a year ago.

The story of the 2008 Arizona Cardinals hasn't been written yet but so far people seem to be torn between history and potential. Which group are you in, is this team ready to challenge for a playoff spot and potentially a NFC West crown or are they ready follow in the footsteps of so many other Cardinals teams of years gone by? What's your prediction: playoff spot or top 10 draft pick?