The franchise was hit with a flurry of questions when starting QB Carson Palmer was knocked out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. The ROTB Writing Staff takes on three of these questions.
Don't forget to answer them yourself in the comments below!
1) How confident are you in Drew Stanton's ability to lead this team to the postseason?
Jess Root: Actually the "to the postseason" I have a lot of confidence. That's what and 8-1 record will do. Going deep into the playoffs? Why not? The team's success is not based on great QB play. It is based on taking care of the ball and making big plays, which Stanton has shown he can do, while playing great defense and taking the ball away.
Robert Norman: Quite confident. Stanton isn't going to take over many games, if any, but as long as he continues to keep the offense in favorable positions and minimize turnovers he has the ability to lead the team to the playoffs. However, that's not the problem. The success of the offense depends the running game. Last week was awful by the offensive line and Ellington and the Lions d-line will be just as difficult.
Alex Mann: After the three starts he received, I am fully confident in Stanton. He may not light up his statistics, or the scoreboard, but he does limit his mistakes, and makes the big plays when they're needed. I'll side with Arians when he says Stanton can lead us to the superbowl.
Jesse Reynolds: I'm probably one of the least optimistic people when it comes to Stanton. It's not that I do not think he is capable, but I don't think he can lead the Cardinals to the Superbowl. So far all I have seen is a poor completion percentage and struggling to read the pocket. Against the Broncos he struggled under pressure and does not have that same way of avoiding sacks that Palmer does. Yeah he came in and made some great plays against the Rams but can he do that over the course of the game? Over the course of the rest of that season? I suspect the team will have to win despite him not because of him and that's a very tall order considering the slate of games we have left.
2) Going forward, what do you think is the long-term plan with Palmer now that he has re-injured his ACL?
Jess Root: He should be back in 2015 and should play. After that, it depends on how he plays and whether or not the Cards find the quarterback they want to draft as their guy moving forward.
Robert Norman: I don't believe anything will change. He's signed through 2016, right? He's expected to be back in 2015 and I don't see any possible scenario where he doesn't play for the Cardinals, even if Stanton wins the Super Bowl, Arians will make all the QBs battle for the starting job in next year's offseason.
Alex Mann: Keep him. Clearly you have to be worried about the possible implications of a second torn ACL, but he will be paid for 2015 either way, so you might as well retain him, and see what he can do.
Jesse Reynolds: Same plan as it is with every injury, see you next season in training camp to compete for your job.
3) How do you think the wildcard situation will play out in the NFC?
Jess Root: I think one will be either Seattle or San Francisco. The other will be fought out between whoever is the second place team in the NFC East and North. Those division races will be too close to call. So Philly, Dallas, Green Bay and Detroit will all be in the mix both for the division and for the wild card.
Robert Norman: I think the two wildcard spots look to be between the Cowboys, Seahawks and Packers at this point. I think of all the teams with the toughest road it's the Seahawks, the play the Cardinals and 49ers twice, Chiefs this week and the Eagles (Rams too, but I doubt the Rams have enough trick plays to win a second time). I think it'll be at least a team from the NFC East and North.
Alex Mann: Wildcard situation will come down to Green Bay, Seattle, and San Francisco. Saints will win the South, AZ has the West (for now), Philly the east, Detroit, barring a collapse, looks to control the North. Seattle and Green Bay are likely to come away with those two wildcard spots, just because San Francisco has been wildly inconsistent.
Jesse Reynolds: Oh man, who knows? Do 49ers evolve with a pass rush again? Are the Seahawks back to their old ways of running over teams with Lynch? What happens down the stretch with the Cowboys and the Eagles? Right now I think the NFC East will take two seeds as both have a weaker schedule down the stretch. But it's close with the Packers 6-3, behind the 7-2 Lions in the NFC North. It's going to be a fun finish.