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The Arizona Cardinals are 4-0 and have found a way to win the close games so far in 2012.
The Arizona Cardinals are an historic 4-0, and have they ever made hearts stop around the Valley in getting there. Three close wins, including an overtime thriller Sunday over Miami, and all of a sudden, it's not only exciting to talk playoffs, but NFC West title and beyond.
Will the Birds break their fans' hearts? There's still plenty of time to do that. But undefeated is undefeated, and only two other NFL teams are 4-0 -- the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. It's really a thrilling time to be a Cardinals fan.
This is one of the least productive offenses in the league, with hardly any rushing attack. But the offense does just enough to take advantage of what the defense gives it in the form of takeaways. The defense gives up yards, but not many points. Whatever they're doing out here, it's working.
Talent-wise, the second-place San Francisco 49ers are the better overall team, and that 34-0 shutout of the New York Jets on Sunday was impressive if only for the utter dominance the Niners displayed in exerting their will. There's little to suggest that San Francisco won't be there at the end.
Both Arizona and San Francisco have winnable games this week, the Cardinals at St. Louis on Thursday and the 49ers at home against Buffalo.
St. Louis has proved to be no slouch. To beat the Seahawks with that good defense Sunday was big confidence-booster for the 2-2 Rams, and they'll be tough at home. The Cardinals struggled in pass defense Sunday against Miami, and now they get one of the most prolific receivers in the game, Danny Amendola, and up-and-coming quarterback Sam Bradford.
The Seahawks (2-2) should probably be 1-3, but that defense and Marshawn Lynch's hard running will keep the Seahawks in games. Unfortunately for Seattle, quarterback Russell Wilson isn't making things happen a lot in the passing game, and now Seattle must go across the country to Carolina to play an angry Panthers team that blew an apparent win in Atlanta Sunday.