Cardinals Hot Start
The Arizona Cardinals have started the season looking determined to prove they are contenders this year. They just beat the Browns 37–14 in Cleveland to improve to 6-0 this year. Some might say this seems like a replay of last season in being able to beat or get blown out by any team in the NFL. This was not the team’s first win against a good opponent all year though. They beat the Rams earlier this season in Los Angeles. The Cardinals won that contest 37-20. It may be early on in 2021, but Arizona seems to be better and more consistent this trip around the sun.
How the Cardinals Got So Good
The Cardinals Are Loaded with Talent
A major reason Arizona has been so successful is its ability to acquire and then keep key individuals in the building. This all started when the team hired Kliff Kingsbury to be their new head coach. Many around the league were skeptical whether he could be a successful coach in the NFL. He was viewed as an offensive genius and had limited success in college. His biggest contribution to the league was grooming Patrick Mahomes to be a superstar for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kingsbury knew he needed a great quarterback to lead his unique offense to have success in the NFL. He persuaded the Cardinals to draft Kyler Murray first overall. Kingsbury has helped Murray become an MVP candidate this season. He is currently only behind Josh Allen in odds to win the award according to Sports Betting Dime. The franchise also has a great player on defense. Defensive back Budda Baker recently signed a 4-year $59 million extension. This deal made him the highest-paid player at the position.
As good as Arizona is at retaining its own talent, they may be even better at acquiring it from other franchises. They stole DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans via trade. The deal was a huge success for Arizona. They were able to get Hopkins for a second and fourth-round draft pick but were also able to get rid of David Johnson’s cap hit. The Cardinals signed former DPOY J.J. Watt this offseason. He was also saved from the dumpster fire that is Houston right now. The franchise was not done yet though. They traded for tight end Zach Ertz recently as well.
The Outlook for the Cardinals This Season
All this together leads us back to one question. Are the Cardinals the best team in the NFL right now? Absolutely not. They may have the best record, but it is only week six of the season. They are currently undefeated, which is something for which they should be proud but does not guarantee a championship. Just look at the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. They started the 2020 campaign by winning their first 11 games. They would end up getting bounced from the playoffs in the wild card round.
The Buccaneers, Ravens, Chargers, Bills, and Cowboys are right there with them at this point. They may not even be the best team in their division either. The Rams are improved and playing well with a revamped offense. If they continue to play as they have been, the Cardinals could very well be the best team in the league. All they need to do is be consistent the rest of the season to earn that title.
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