The Arizona Cardinals are a .500 team (7-7) with a chance to finish the season with nine wins and possibly even sneak into the playoffs with a Wildcard berth. For a team that lost six-straight after a Week 1 win, that's quite an accomplishment.
When the Cards were in the midst of the losing streak and they dropped four games by four points or less they didn't have the feel of a team that would be in the "Suck for Luck" category. As we've heard many times now, they didn't believe they were that bad either.
"After all the games we lost in the fourth quarter in the beginning of the season, we just look back and look at our record and think we're better than what our record shows," Darnell Dockett said Sunday. "We just go out and try to show people that our record doesn't do us any justice."
Now that 1-6 has turned into 6-1 the same thing can probably be said. The 6-1 record doesn't do them justice, not when you consider the average margin of victor is just four points and that three of the six wins needed overtime and two required an opponent's blocked or missed game-winning field goal.
The luck certainly has turned, but perhaps it's gone a bit too far the other direction to be sustainable.
In the NFL, all that matters is the win, except when you lose and you can find positives from "keeping it close".
This Cardinals team has been horrible in the first half of games and they are 30th in the league in third down conversions according to Larry Fitzgerald. Kevin Kolb has yet to play more than a half of good football and unfortunately, hasn't been able to stay on the field enough to improve. John Skelton has 10 interceptions in six games despite his Tebow-like ability to win in the fourth quarter.
The defense has indeed be solid and appears to be legit but the offense is way behind.
The good news is, the players know it. They are not satisfied with a "win is a win" over this 6-1 stretch which is exactly what you want to hear.
"Our defense, I think, is the one single reason we are able to play at that level we have been playing recently...We have done okay, we have been adequate offensively, but enough to get some wins," Larry Fitzgerald explained.
There is good news and again Larry said it best, "If we play the full game, we will be scary. We would be a force to be reckoned with."
That's the question this team needs to answer in the final two games of the season. Can they put a full game together on offense and stop making mistakes and leaving plays on the field? Can the offense show the kind of improvement the defense has or is this team that's ranked 25th in points scored really just who they are?
Whether they can play a full game on offense is very much an open question with an offensive line that's given up the fourth-most sacks in the league; a lack of depth at running back with Ryan Williams down for the season; no second star receiver to help take pressure off Fitzgerald; and most importantly, two quarterbacks who have yet to demonstrate they can even play at an average level of competency for the position in the NFL.
It would have been nice to see the Cardinals blow the doors off a fairly mediocre Cleveland Browns team. Instead, we were treated to an exciting, thrilling and thoroughly unsatisfying overtime win that still leaves more questions than answers about just what this team can do.
But hey, winning close games sure is more fun than losing them!