Coming off back-to-back NFC West Division Championships, multiple playoff wins, and a march to the Super Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals look to continue their success this coming season.
The pressure is off their backs this season with all their current success, and now is on the back's of the San Fransisco 49ers.They have proven to be a test for the Cardinals, but haven't come in the way of taking the division from them just yet.
Arizona not only plays in the league's easiest division, but they have been granted the easiest schedule for the upcoming 2010-11 season.
Based on the opponents' performance from last season, the teams have a combined record of 114-142 (.445 win percentage). Compare this to the toughest schedules: The Texans and Titans deal with 140-116 (.547 win percentage).
The season will hold many matchups that favor the Cardinals. Teams like St. Louis, Oakland, Seattle, and Tampa Bay could be seen as guaranteed wins if the team takes the right approach to each game. Tougher opponents will be San Fransisco, Atlanta, Minnesota, Denver, Carolina, San Diego, New Orleans and Dallas. We have seen the Cardinals do many things as underdogs, so it is hard to count them out of any game.
Of course, the biggest opponent this season is the Cardinals themselves. With the loss of Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin, different players will have to step up in their absence. Beanie Wells, Early Doucet,Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Steve Breaston will all look to improve off of successful seasons.
We have yet to see if Matt Leinart can prove himself. He has always had to go up against Warner for the starting position, and it showed that it was a difficult task. When the opportunities presented themselves he was never able to have a game that made him standout.
Overall Leinart has been a bust. Now with Warner gone things can be different, the ball can be in his hands for the first game against the easy opponent St. Louis Rams.
If he doesn't succeed, fans have their hopes on newly-acquired Derek Anderson to take over. Coming off a disappointing season with the Cleveland Browns after being a Pro Bowl quarterback, he hopes to give Leinart another run for his money. Possibly steal the starting job from under his nose.
However, it doesn't matter who takes us there, just as long as we get there.
So, with an excellent coaching staff, our young and talented core, and a new outlook for the organization, the Cardinals are setting themselves up for three NFC West Division Championships in a row.
And who knows, maybe even another appearance in the Super Bowl?