Season Preview: Arizona Cardinals, Why Carson Palmer and David Johnson will win the NFC West

Last season was one word for the Arizona Cardinals, disappointing. A team with Super Bowl aspirations that completely missed the playoffs. This is crunch time for the Cards the year to grab a Lombardi is 2017 because this team and its coach simply don’t have much time left.
After not feeling himself for the last half of 2017 and battling an illness in the offseason. Earlier last week Bruce Arians revealed he had been dealing with Kidney Cancer. That and the fact that he has publicly hinted at it makes me believe this may very well be Arians last year coaching. Widely Respected by players and coaches around the league Arians is hyper valuable to a potential Cardinals Super Bowl run. Especially because he holds the key to unlocking an offensive weapon that could change the entire NFC landscape.
Again the word disappointing pops up, that had to be the only word to describe QB Carson Palmers season last year. Palmer started the year hot but seemed to lose arm strength as the year progressed and as his offensive line became more porous. If Palmer can come even three fourths closer to the performance he had in 2015 2017 will be a dominate year for the Cardinal.
The major focus point on a mediocre team last year though was David Johnson. Widely forgotten because of the lack of primetime games for the cards it should be pointed out Johnson may be the best running back in the league. He has the vision of Lev Bell the speed of Ezekiel Elliott and the power of Marshawn Lynch in his prime. Johnson ran and received for a combined over 2000 yards. That for him would be considered an off year if he can up his production just a little bit we could see him challenge for a 2000 yard year.
The issue for both above position groups though is the offensive line. The Cards line was abysmal last year ranking as one of the worst in the league. The most major reason for that was injury, Jared Veldheer and Mike Iupati both played the year with injuries. The Cards line last year was inexperienced and developed depth last year only to come back stronger this year according to the Cardinals. I’m inclined to believe them I trust Bruce Arians as a coach he will find the right players and has surely made this line better. If not heads will roll early and the “Depth” players that played so much of last year due to injury will be plugged into the starting lineup.
On the defensive side of the ball there are question marks all over. How will the defensive line handle losing Calais Campbell? Will Robert Nkemdiche do enough to fill the hole? Can Patrick Peterson Recover from a lack luster second half of last year? Most pressing tough is Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu is undoubtedly one of the best safeties in the game when healthy. That health has come into question though within four years Mathieu has torn his ACL twice. Can he remain on the field? If he can this Cardinals defense can be one of the best secondary’s in the league.
The most major enemy of the Cardinals is time. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are running out of time on their careers. Arians may have his last years of coaching ahead of him. The Cardinals biggest weakness is injuries and themselves. If every position group executes and players remain uninjured this team can win a Super Bowl. Let me defend that claim. Yes, you may think, “well if every team executes well at every position than of course they will end up being the best” Wrong, you must have talent for execution to pay off and the Cardinals have that talent. Injuries happen in an NFL season and undoubtedly will happen to the Cards but if Arians can keep the ship afloat and Palmer and Fitz can have one last big year, all year, then maybe just maybe this team is destined to win a Super Bowl. They must do it now though.


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