What a season the Cardinals had last year. I doubt that anybody could have guessed that Cinderella Story at the beginning of the season.
A team that had not made the Super Bowl in 60 years coming within inches of winning it all. That is quite a feat considering that this team hadn't made the playoffs in 11 years and only once in the last quarter century.
But now that they have made it to the Super Bowl, what can they do for an encore. What can they do to top it all. Well, there is only one thing they can do, actually win it all.
But can they really do it?
Do they really have a team that is talented enough to go all the way?
They definitely have a better team then last year. With the Addition of Beanie Wells with there first round draft pick, it gives the Cardinals a much more balanced and dangerous offensive attack.
Plus with an emerging offensive line that can only get better with the addition of Donovan Raiola, this team definitely has one of the top three most dangerous offenses in the NFL.
The issue with this team last season was defense.
Even though they did sometimes steal games late with there defense, they gave up way too many points to teams that should have been easily shut down (examples being San Francisco and Seattle.)
But luckily, Ken Whisenhunt addressed this during the draft, taking four defensive players out of the first six picks of the draft.
The first being Cody Brown, an under-sized defensive end taken in the second round that will most likely be moved into the outside linebacker position to learn from the ever aging Chike Okeafor.
The third round pick, Rashad Johnson, is a player that might suprise a lot of people. He is a safety out of Alabama that, if put into the right situation, will bring this defense to the next level by seasons end.
But with all these additions and solid draft picks, how could this team be threatened?
With an improved NFC West, that's what.
Last seasons emergence of the Arizona Cardinals didn't come with a little help. The Seattle Seahawks were decimated by injuries and both the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams were just awful.
But this season is different.
The Seattle Seahawks are completely healthy now to start the season and with the addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, this team is dangerous once again.
The San Francisco 49ers on the other hand recieved a gift in this seasons draft with the likes of Michael Crabtree.
This, with the likes of a very good coach in Mike Singletary, make for a dark horse in the NFC West this up coming season.
These teams will definitely be a threat to the former NFC Champions and will look to regain there dominance in the NFC West.
So what is the final verdict for the Arizona Cardinals?
They are still the same team that made the Super Bowl last season and in my opinion only got better this offseason, the problem is that even though the Cardinals got better, the rest of the NFC West got better also which means that this season will be much tougher for the Cardinals to get back to the Super Bowl.
My prediction is that they will make the playoffs, they just wont get back to the Super Bowl. They still lack a complete team that is strong at every position, something that is required to be a consistent contender in the NFL.