The Cardinals have now won 4 of the last 5 now, and look to continue their new-found winning ways this week against the San Francisco 49ers. But believe it or not, there are still some questions surrounding the Cardinals franchise that need to be answered.
The ROTB Writing Staff took their shot at three of them. Hit the jump to see their answers, and don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below.
1) After defeating the Cowboys, the Cardinals are all of a sudden showing up in numerous Playoff scenarios. Are the Playoffs a viable dream this season?
Tyler Nickel: No, I think that the Playoffs are still out of reach for this season. There are just too many teams ahead of them in the wildcard race, seeing how the division has already been claimed. However, if they can keep winning to build momentum towards next season, I will be just as happy.
Jesse Reynolds: Playoffs? I want to believe but it's hard too. So much has to go right for us and so much more has to go wrong for everyone else. Right now I just want to see improvement in the offense and to see the defense continually play at a high level. IF that happens than I will start believing in playoffs. First we have to beat the Niners and that should be everyone's focus.
Jess Root: A dream? Yes. Viable? Not really yet. I think that we can as fans hope and hang on to the possibility of it. in Monday's press conference, Ken Whisenhunt put the kabosh on any playoff talk. Realistically, if the Cardinals somehow beat the 49ers on Sunday, then I think we can start getting hopes up (probably to be disappointed as Cardinals fans are accustomed to being.)
JoeCB1991: It is possible, but not very likely at all. A lot of things have to fall our way, and in the end i don't think winning out to go 9-7 will be enough to get it done. I see 7-9 being the most likely finish right now.
2) The 49ers game is likely going to be the most important game so far this season, as losing would ultimately mean Playoff disqualification for the Cardinals. What do the Cardinals need to do to ensure a victory?
Tyler Nickel: The Cardinals need to do everything differently than what they did last time against San Francisco. Better QB play, a running game, defensive stops, ball control, etc. will all be paramount.
Jesse Reynolds: Beating the Niners is going to be tough, but I believe we have a good chance at doing it. The 49ers haven't been playing as well lately, they lost to the Ravens and were held to 3 field goals against a depleted and inept Rams defense for the first half of that game. They also have been committing more penalties, with 7 penalties versus us, 8 penalties versus the Rams and 7 versus the Ravens (overall the Niners are ranked 27 in the league with 7.5 penalties a game and 9.6 on away games). Stopping the run of course will be the first order, stopping Michael Crabtree is the second order. The last few games Crabtree has been playing very well. Also with Patrick Willis likely to miss the game, the Cardinals being at home and emotions running high, I believe we have a very solid chance at victory.
Jess Root: Easy answer -- score more points than San Fran. But that's a dumb answer. The truth is that in San Francisco the defense played well enough to win if the offense could have produced anything at all. Kevin Kevin Kolb will need to play something similar to the way he played against the Cowboys. If they can actually move the ball, they will have a chance. The SF secondary could be prone to the big play.
JoeCB1991: They have been playing great defense lately, keep doing that. On offense, just keep doing what they did against Dallas, avoid turnovers, sustain drives, and keep the offense balanced. I think Kolb should take a page out of Alex Smith's book and just play smart, and don't keep trying to hit the big play even if it isn't open against this defense, just hit whatever is open and be smart.
3) After a dismal 1st Half, Kevin Kolb broke through and finished the game great. What do you think clicked for him, and can he continue this?
Tyler Nickel: I don't know if it was necessarily just Kevin Kolb that really "clicked" in the 2nd half. I think the offense as a whole just started heating up. The offensive line blocked much better in the second half, both in pass blocking and in run blocking. This allowed the offense to have multiple dimensions and it opened the game up for Kolb to do well.
Jesse Reynolds: Kolb showed improvement against the Cowboys but it's too soon to say he has turned the corner. If Kolb plays well against the 49ers I will believe he has turned the corner. The 49ers have the best defense in the NFL and while their pass yardage allowed is average (ranked 16th) they have defended 97 passes this season (3 behind the Packers who lead the league). Luckily the Niners pass rush is just average with only 29 sacks (tied at 13 with us) and average QB pressure (knockdowns and hurries - ranked 15th) so Kolb should have more time to throw, but with 49ers ridiculous run defense it will mean that Kolb will have to carry the team on his arm, something a franchise QB must be able to do. With LSH, Housler, Doucet, Roberts and Fitz we have all the weapons we need but will Kolb be able to make the big throws we need? Will he finally connect with Housler? A lot of questions still need to be answered. Again, if he plays well against the 49ers defense we can consider the guy to be legit.
I think it's pretty simple -- time happened. He finally looked comfortable looking for his reads. Dallas Cowboys
fans will also confess that the Dallas secondary is not great. That likely was a contributing factor. Plus, Demarcus Ware sat most of the game.
JoeCB1991: I think that part of it was from having more time to study the offense and watching how Skelton ran everything in his games. can't really explain why Kolb looked so much better in the pocket but he did a great job stepping up and using his mobility to extend plays when he felt pressure. I attribute the first half more to rust, and in the second half after he calmed down everything just clicked for him. The playcalling also seemed to fit his skillset better than just calling plays meant for Warner all the time like Whiz was doing before as well.
Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!