Lesser of (Four) Evils
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9-7. 7-9. 4-12. 2-14.
Those numbers mean that the NFC West had a record of... carry the two... 22-42. In a league where all the teams start 8-8 and a few bounces one way or another can mean a trip to the playoffs or a trip to the unemployment line for coaches and players alike, man the NFC West stinks.
So yes, in theory, the Cardinals should get back to the playoffs. Sure, the Seahawks were rife with injuries last year. And yes, the three teams in the Cardinals division have new head coaches. And yes, of all the new head coaches in the league in 2008, only Jim Zorn's squad ended the season without a winning record.
But there will be 11 new head coaches in the NFL in 2009. Eleven. So stands to reason that the success rate of first-year head coaches will take a bit of a nosedive next season. In a division like the NFC West, it seems the Cardinals may be in a great position to control their own destiny for a while.
A lot seems to hinge on Kurt Warner's situation. If Warner rides off into the sunset -- I liken his potential departure to that of Michael Landon at the end of every episode of Highway to Heaven -- it will be a lot harder for the Cards. Does anyone think that Matt Leinart can do more than hold a clip board (and the occasional beer funnel) at this point? Maybe he'll be a great quarterback someday, but this version of the Cardinals is Warner's team.
Coordinators have left, or have been asked to leave. Players may cash in for bigger money elsewhere (losing Karlos Dansby will hurt much more than Anquan Boldin). But in a division like that, with a born-again quarterback and the best receiver in the league, I don't see how they won't be the favorite to win the division.
Then, as we saw this year, anything can happen in the playoffs.
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