No need to fear the competition
It would be easy to focus on the most recent results. Where it’s fair to say the Arizona Cardinals are not exactly entering the playoffs in the finest of form. Having lost four of their last five games. It shouldn’t be forgotten though that the Cards started off this season by winning all of their first seven games; one of the early season front runners for Superbowl contention.
Okay so you’d prefer to enter the playoffs with the form reversed of course. But the Cards shouldn’t enter these playoffs with any fear. Why? Because they’ve already beaten some of the teams they could face on the way to the Superbowl.
Whilst they’ve had a more recent loss to the Los Angeles Rams, let’s not forget they’ve already beaten them back in Week 4. And will have nothing to fear in this Wildcard round. Should they manage to come out of Monday’s game against the Rams with a win, they’ll be squaring up against the Green Bay Packers. Yes, it’s true that the Cardinals lost to the Packers back in October. But the 3 point margin of loss proves that the Cards have enough to hang with the Packers. And there’ll be no reason to think they can’t come away with a victory there. However difficult it may seem.
Should they manage to claim victory in Lambeau in the Divisional Round? The Conference Championship could potentially see them face off with opponents that they’ve already seen. No to mention already beaten this season in the Dallas Cowboys or the San Francisco 49ers. Games will of course have to play out a certain way for the playoff route to fall this way. Yet it does go to show that the Cardinals have already shown that on their day they’re a match for anybody else in the NFC. The Cards earlier victories this season against some of those teams serves to prove just that.
Potential return of key stars
Perhaps the most logical reason as to why the Arizona Cardinals will go on to win the Superbowl is the return of some of their key players. Whilst listed as “very limited”, we have seen JJ Watt back in practice. He is potentially in contention for Monday night’s game in Los Angeles. And whilst we’re not going to be seeing DeAndre Hopkins suit up on Monday, he could potentially be primed for a return should Arizona make the Divisional Round.
Two players capable of providing monster displays on their day. A possible return of these two stars could provide a massive momentum swing for the Arizona Cardinals.
You didn’t think you would get to the end of this article without a mention of Kyler Murray surely? The tricky quarterback is set to make his first playoff appearance for the Arizona Cardinals, and coach Kliff Kingsbury has gone on record to say that he believes Murray has been building toward this moment throughout his entire career and even going as far as predicting that he will have the best game of his career on Monday.
We always hear that you need a tall Quarterback to win. So maybe there’s some extra incentive for Kyler to go out there and prove doubters wrong. A Cards Superbowl victory would see Kyler Murray become the shortest QB to ever win the Vince Lombardi trophy at 5’ 8 (taking the record from Russell Wilson at 5’ 11). A dual threat QB capable of putting up points for the team with either his arms or his legs? I’m not counting him out.
First time winners
Okay, so we know how recent history often goes with Tom Brady led teams coming out Superbowl victorious on more than a few occasions in the past twenty years. But take a look outside of that, and the list of Superbowl winners in that same time period has a whole host of first time winners.
At the start of the century the then St Louis Rams were victorious in Superbowl XXXIV in Atlanta, followed up in 2001 by first time winners in the Baltimore Ravens. Tampa Bay just two years later managed to win their first Superbowl in 2003. The Indianapolis Colts grabbed their first Lombardi trophy in 2007, and the New Orleans Saints just a few short years later in 2010.
In more recent years, we saw the Seattle Seahawks win their first Superbowl in 2014, and who can forget that Eagles win in 2018?
Whilst the last twenty years has been dominated by Patriots and Tom Brady victories (and they are of course both separately represented in this year’s playoffs!), there are plenty of stories of first time winners. Why couldn’t there be another one in 2022? And why couldn’t it be the Cardinals?