Are the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals Doomed for the Rest of the Season?

Chad MiddletonContributor IOctober 15, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 14:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Arizona Cardinals is escorted off the field by the Cardinals training staff after getting hurt late in the game against the Buffalo Bills at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Talk about a loaded question.

There are two types of Arizona Cardinals fans right now. First, we have the ones who watched the game yesterday and automatically started proclaiming doom and gloom for the rest of the year. Then we have the ones who watched that same game and realized the Arizona Cardinals are what they are. 

At present, they are 4-2 and leading the NFC West along with San Francisco and Seattle. 

Sure, you are hearing quite the gambit of overreactions this morning after a tough loss to the Buffalo Bills.

John Skelton can't lead the Cardinals to be a productive offense. He makes too many mistakes. The offensive line is so horrible that even Mario Williams got sacks. This is the worse 4-2 team in the league. The Cardinals can't run the ball. Kolb's hurt again. 

Some of the critics are right, but it depends which critic you choose to believe.

Let's examine what the Arizona Cardinals have done through six games of this season.

They defeated a tough Seattle Seahawks team who is also 4-2. They went on the road and beat a New England team that hadn't lost a home opener in years. They manhandled a Philadelphia Eagles team that decides to play when they want. A hard-fought game against the Miami Dolphins that went into overtime doesn't look so bad now as the Dolphins are tied for first in the AFC East. 

In fact, three of the teams the Cardinals have beaten are currently tied for first place in their divisions—Seattle, New England and Miami.

I know I'm being a tad facetious here, but you have to put it in perspective: If you looked at social media yesterday you would think the Cardinals were 1-5.

They are still in first place.

I think San Francisco is a good team not a great team. The dominance they displayed last year has trickled over into this year, but I'm here to tell you this is not the same 49ers team as last year.

They are completely beatable. 

Let's examine their wins. They beat a Green Bay team with no identity at the time. They killed a Detroit side that is less than a shell of last year's team. They did crush the Jets and Bills—which were admittedly impressive wins—but when San Francisco is not dictating the pace of the game, they look like a team that has some chinks in their armor.

They were punched in the mouth by the Vikings and the Giants and now other teams see a blueprint on how to beat them. It doesn't mean the Cardinals will, but the one thing you really cannot doubt is that the Cardinals defense has some bite to it even if they do get beat by the big play. 

I hate saying that the Cardinals' next four games will define their season, but they will.

A road trip Sunday to Minnesota will be tough, and the Vikings' home stadium has not been kind to the Cardinals lately. The Monday night game against the 49ers could go a long way in deciding who is the front runner in the division. 

The two games after that may be the toughest of the season and both are on the road. Green Bay seems to be hitting their stride after humiliating the Houston Texans last night. Atlanta seems to be a polished version of the Cardinals: They win ugly. Fortunately, the Cardinals have a bye week between the two. 

 Most might say it's an 0-4 destiny, but I think the Cardinals could go 2-2 in the next four games.

One thing about these Cardinals is that they beat the teams they were predicted to lose against. Their defense has not given up more than 21 points in a game this year. That in itself says that this team should be competitive in all these games. 

Where do the Cardinals have to improve so that this season doesn't take a turn for the worse? 

I'm tired of talking about the offensive line, so improvement there is a given. I think the play-calling has been atrocious and needs to be addressed.

Yesterday, we saw a run game. A bona fide run game.

They have to commit to the run more. At the end of the game, the Cardinals could have run the ball more instead of putting the ball in Skelton's rusty hands.

From this point on, William Powell needs to be given more touches. He was much more effective than the Hyphen, even though his lapse in judgement may have cost Kolb some time off.  If they allow him to run to the outside more, the Cardinals offense will open up because teams will have to respect the run. 

Of course, that depends on the offensive line. 

Enter the peanut gallery.

Take heart Cardinals fans. The year is not over—far from it. The Cardinals still are in a good position. Take a look at this year's first six games and compare it to last year's first six.

Which do you prefer?

Sure the Cardinals could blow it and lose the next four but that won't happen. This team is too smart to go into a mindless funk.

Adrian Wilson won't let it happen.

Larry Fitzgerald won't let it happen.

This team won't let it happen. 


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