NFL Insider: Cards “risk-taking” Paying Big Dividends

Arizona Sports News online

Could the Arizona Cardinals have the ultimate home field advantage on Sunday, February 1st at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale?

What seemed like a somewhat far-fetched and mostly wishful thinking concept amongst the Bird Gang two months ago of being the first team to “host” a Super Bowl, has a much different tone as the NFC West-leading Cardinals (6-1) prepare for their showdown with the 6-2 Cowboys Sunday in Arlington.

“You’d be ignoring what you’re seeing every Sunday to say that it’s not entirely possible,” Senior NFL writer and ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ editor-in-chief Peter King told’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview Tuesday morning. “This is the only team in the NFC unbeaten in conference. This is the only team with one loss in the conference so clearly they’ve got a good shot.”

King warns it’s a bit premature to look too far ahead, especially considering Bruce Arian’s team finishes the season hosting defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle and then traveling to the Bay Area to wrap things up against the 49ers.

Despite being a “risk-taking team” as King noted, Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles have made the right calls in the right situations: case in point last week against the Eagles when Carson Palmer found rookie John Brown for a 75-yard go-ahead touchdown on 3rd-and-five from their own 25 in the 24-20 comeback win.

Many around the NFL believe the Cards are one of the more entertaining teams to watch because of Arian’s gun-slinger approach and Bowles’ aggressive, attacking defense even without the services of several key starters this season.

One offensive starter who missed time and is now again playing at a high level is quarterback Carson Palmer who’s won 11 of his last 13 starts under center. 

“You can’t do anything without a steady quarterback,” King told Cesmat. “That’s what Carson Palmer’s been for them.”

The trickle down effect of success King believes starts with general manager Steve Keim and his shrewd moves piecing together the right mix of youth and experience here in the desert.

“If I had to pick an Executive of the Year right now it would probably be Steve Keim or John Elway,” he said. “I mean…you look at the way Arizona is constituted right now with all of the lesser guys on defense. There’s no question Steve Keim has just done a great job this year and since he’s become general manager.” 

Six-and-one has never been so fun.


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