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Football Outsiders: Arizona Cardinals to lead the way in NFC in 2016

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The Cardinals are expected to squeak past Seattle in the division because of a couple of scheduling differences.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals fans have grown tired of hearing about how Seattle Seahawks fans point to Football Outsiders and cite how their team leads the way in some advanced metrics. But these same Cardinals fans might enjoy this -- Football Outsiders project the Arizona Cardinals to be the top team in the NFC, thanks to a couple of scheduling differences in 2016.

In their NFC projections, they have the Cardinals winning 12 games in 2016, which is tied with the Green Bay Packers, but still the number one team in the conference. Seattle is just behind with 11, thinks to two key differences in their schedule with Arizona.

One is how the Cardinals will travel to Minnesota, while the Seahawks travel to Green Bay. That is the result of their record last season. Based on what is expected in 2016, the trip to Green Bay will be the tougher game.

The other is each team's game against the New England Patriots. Arizona hosts the Pats at home in Week 1, and because of Deflategate, they might be facing them without Tom Brady. Seattle, on the other hand, must travel to Foxboro in Week 10.

Both the Cards and the Hawks, though, are expected to be very good.

But overall, these are the two best teams in the league going into 2016. Arizona has the No. 3 projection on both offense and defense. Seattle has the No. 2 projection on defense and the No. 4 projection on offense. Arizona's defense can't expect to get quite as many turnovers -- the Cardinals were second in the league with turnovers on 17.0 percent of drives -- but Chandler Jones will improve the pass rush. Seattle still has a problematic offensive line and needs to fill holes left by Brandon Mebane and Bruce Irvin, but the Seahawks have been consistently good for years now and there's no reason to expect something different in 2016.

If this turns out to be true, this coming season will be a very exciting one. Both teams will be good and a lot of fun to watch.

It sounds like both will be in the mix for the DVOA title and an actual title.

Are you excited?