The NFL is almost all the way back, and most expect the San Francisco 49ers to run away with the NFC West as they did a year ago, going 13-3 and making it to the NFC title game. However, Pro Football Weekly has the Seattle Seahawks on their watch list as one of the teams they expect to compete for a division crown.
The Seahawks are fascinating. They have a young, ballhawking defense, some real talent at receiver and a confident head coach in Pete Carroll with a chip on his shoulder. All they need now is to settle on a quarterback. It should be easy, right?
This sounds an awful lot like the Arizona Cardinals, but they don't get any love.
Arizona has a defense that played great down the stretch in 2011. They have Ryan Williams coming back to add to the running back position. They drafted Michael Floyd to add to the receiving corp that includes Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. Ken Whisenhunt is at least as good a coach as Carroll is. And yes, they have uncertainty at quarterback.
So what gives? That article basically describes the Cardinals, so why aren't they given any credit? After all, they did win seven of their final nine games last season and beat the Seahawks in Week 17 without Beanie Wells or Calais Campbell.
You can look at it a couple of different ways. You could say it is a snub, and that it could and should add to the chip on the shoulder of the team, as they really want to take back the division that was their for two seasons. You can also say that because Seattle is on the watch list and Arizona is in the exact same position, that you can easily say that the Cardinals are going to be a team to watch. All that means is that the division, between the Niners, Seahawks and Cards, very possibly could be a very good division, which makes it up for grabs.
And that sort of uncertainty is a blast to watch and overcome. It could make the 2012 season very interesting one to follow in the NFC West.
Get more Cardinals coverage at Revenge of the Birds.