How exactly good was the NFC west as a whole last year? If you take out the 12 losses from playing one another in the division, then the NFC West lost exactly 10 times vs. the rest of the NFL last year. Our conference winning percentage was .667 which, if you are keeping track, is higher than the eventual NFC East champ Philadelphia Eagles.
So how do the Cardinals win the division? Well, it's not as hard as you would think really. I think the Cardinals must go at least 4-2 in the division in order to win it. I also think we have to have a win vs. all three teams in that 4-2 mark, making home-field advantage very important this year. The way I look at it is that we have to have two of our first three games of the season in the win column before our bye and a tough game in Denver. Boy, would I like one of those to be the Niners game.
After the Denver game, we need to start rolling through some of these teams and not play to their level. On paper, I think the Arizona Cardinals are better than Washington, Oakland, Philadelphia, Dallas, St. Louis (2nd win), Detroit and Atlanta, and if this team can stay focused, they should win these games. If, and that is a big if, they can come away with a win in these games, we are looking going from a 2-2 start to a 9-2 record. (And, yes, I know a Seattle game is before the Atlanta game, but we will get to that.)
That leaves Weeks 12 to 17 with four games vs. the NFC West, one vs. Kansas City and the above-mentioned Atlanta Game. I think never before have I seen a schedule that has the Cardinals' most important games of the season all at the end of the year like this. There are three straight games vs. NFC West for the whole thing.... GET YOUR TICKETS NOW CARDINAL FANS BECAUSE THESE WILL BE PLAYOFF-TYPE GAMES! MARK MY WORDS!
Note: I always make a prediction before the beginning of the year that people think I'm nuts when I make it, like this and this. So here it is...my pre-training camp hate mail prediction. Your Arizona Cardinals will win the NFC West this year. Let your anger flow through you.
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