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Arizona Cardinals projected to finish 2nd in NFC West, claim NFC Wild Card in 2017

Football Outsiders has the Cardinals getting back in the playoffs in 2017.

Arizona Cardinals v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The 2016 NFL season was nothing like what anyone expected for the Arizona Cardinals.

Finishing 7-8-1, the first losing season in the Steve Keim and Bruce Arians era was a shock to almost everyone.

Despite the aging roster and departures in free agency, Football Outsiders still believes in the 2017 version of the Arizona Cardinals, from their ESPN article:

As a writer who uses stats to analyze a sport that's tough to analyze with stats, I try to follow two rules: run the numbers unadulterated; and don't be a slave to them. So I don't mind saying that our projection system seems far too optimistic about a rebound performance from the 38-year-old Carson Palmer. That being said, last season's Cardinals were not a bad team, just an average one held back in part by a terrible special-teams performance that is unlikely to be repeated.

Interesting how the view of Palmer and the Cardinals has changed enough to sway the belief of many within the football community, which is huge for the overall look of the Cardinals as an organization.

The overall standings in the NFC West:

  1. Seattle Seahawks 11-5
  2. Arizona 10-6
  3. Los Angeles Rams 8-8
  4. San Francisco 49ers 5-11

They also have the Arizona Cardinals as the five seed, the top NFC Wild Card, taking on the Carolina Panthers in Carolina... Maybe the Cards could exorcise some demons.