Are the 4-0 Cardinals Really That Good?
By: The Football Girl | Posted: October 04, 2012
Back on schedule release day when I first glanced at NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football slate and saw the Week 5 matchup, tonight’s Cardinals/Rams game, I made some kind of imitation barfing sound.
But now the Cardinals are 4-0 and at this point, the best story in the NFL. But are they for real, or are they just 2012’s version of the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs? Just alright.
Why the Cardinals are not for real…
Besides vacillating between two quarterbacks, the Cardinals have severe issues on offense. They are 31st in total yards with 271 per game. The running game is averaging 68 yards per game, and Ryan Williams has not yet displayed the various assets that had people so high on him. On the receiver front, Larry Fitzgerald is being thickly covered and losing targets to Andre Roberts. Roberts has already scored 4 touchdowns to Fitzgerald’s 2, and that kind of imbalance (with Fitzgerald on the low end) will never translate into a strong passing game.
Why the Cardinals are for real…
OK, if you’ve seen any Cardinals game this year you know you’re in the “ ding ding” section of this post. Unlike a lot of anomaly teams, the Cardinals schedule has not catapulted them to early seasons success. They beat the Seahawks. They beat the Patriots and Eagles on the road in two gritty, impressive performances. And, most recently, they overcame a 13-0 deficit to beat the Dolphins in rather character-building fashion.
They are mainly doing it with just an awesome defense. The Cardinals boast a bruising front seven led by Darnell Dockett. Adrian Wilson has really stepped up his play at safety. And then there’s cornerback Patrick Peterson, who with Darrelle Revis out for the season and Nnamdi Asomugha having an off year, is probably the best in the game. Peterson’s coverage has been very tight. Opposing quarterbacks are finding it unproductive to throw in Peterson’s direction, which is probably why he only has one interception. Overall this defense is stronger and tougher than most in the league. You see it in their line battles on almost every play. You also see it in the fact that they have ten turnovers already, an area that had been greatly emphasized by defensive coordinator, Ray Horton. If they can avoid major injuries, this is a playoff ready defense.
Forget the notion that Larry Fitzgerald has to be the star for the Cardinals to work. Andre Roberts, who leads the league in touchdowns, has been a welcome surprise. Roberts is a solid producer who is averaging 15 yards-per-catch and is starting to draw more coverage.
And Kevin Kolb is erratic, but as I have recently noted that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He is starting to sync with his receivers and should not be much of a liability moving forward. And if he is, there’s always John Skelton.
The remaining schedule is also somewhat favorable. The way I see it they have five tough games left (two vs. San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay.) Say they lose all five and even lose one of their “easier” games that still puts them at 10-6 and likely in position for a wild card at the very least. Of course at that point we probably won’t be writing articles about them being for real anymore.
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