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Calais Campbell: Cardinals are best team in NFC

Arizona Cardinals vs Houston Texans Getty Images

Over the last eight weeks, no one has played as well as the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona is 7-1 with blowout wins over the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams at home and a surprising upset victory against the Seahawks last weekend in Seattle. Despite a 10-5 record and a chance to get to 11-5 with a win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the Cardinals will need more than just the victory over the 49ers to reach the postseason.

But as far as who is playing the best football right now in the NFC, Cardinals’ defensive end Calais Campbell believes Arizona is at the top of the charts.

“In my opinion, I think we are the best team in the NFC. I hope we get into the playoffs and we can show it,” Campbell said on NFL AM on the NFL Network.

Arizona needs a victory over the 49ers and loss from the New Orleans Saints against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in order to find themselves playing beyond this weekend. The Saints host Tampa Bay this weekend and New Orleans is 7-0 at home on the year. It leaves a very real possibility that the Cardinals will be watching the playoffs instead of participating.

“Going 11-5 and not making it into the playoffs, nobody really knows,” Campbell said. “The only teams talked about are the playoff teams. We really hope we get a chance to get in. I know if we do we’ll do some damage.”

Arizona’s run defense is the best in the league. Campbell and Darnell Dockett specifically were responsible for causing serious problems for Seattle last week in creating space of Marshawn Lynch. Despite their offense turning the ball over four times on four interceptions from Carson Palmer, the defense held a struggling Seattle offense to just 10 points and only two drives longer than four plays.

The Cardinals are shaping up much like the Seahawks from a season ago. If they make the postseason, they’re going to be the team nobody wants to play in the NFC.

“It’s going to hurt,” Campbell said. “If that was to happen, it would hurt but I can hang my hat on 11-5. If we go 11-5, we did our part and it just wasn’t in the cards for us. But if we do get in, they better watch out.”

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75 Responses to “Calais Campbell: Cardinals are best team in NFC”
  1. flipola says: Dec 27, 2013 1:38 AM

    Everyone says they’re team is the best. They have to. But he knows, deep down, they’re third-best in the division.

  2. autumnwind999 says: Dec 27, 2013 1:42 AM

    Arizona has looked great this season. They’re right up there with Seattle, San Fran, Denver and maybe Carolina as the best teams right now. It’ll be a shame if they miss out on the postseason as a 10- or 11-win team.

  3. natepalmer1 says: Dec 27, 2013 1:46 AM

    To Calais Campbell: That win in Seattle was a sympathy win…You know it was…But don’t sweat it big man, come back next year and show everyone who the Cardinals really are, one more time…

  4. 4d9erdynasty says: Dec 27, 2013 1:47 AM

    Not even the best team in the division. Id say 3rd best team in the division.

  5. charlie2254 says: Dec 27, 2013 1:48 AM

    Simma downa!

  6. 49erfan44 says: Dec 27, 2013 1:53 AM

    You know, except for that one team in San Francisco…

  7. jeffesky says: Dec 27, 2013 1:55 AM

    As a life long Hawks fan either were going in the tank at the wrong time or the Cards are for real. Id say its a bit of both but as for the Cards thier D is solid and Palmer can stick it , that TD to Floyd was perfect and we had as good of coverage as you can have put it was a fantastic throw and catch. AZ beat us fair and squre. The next few years in this division are going to be epic. If the cards beat the Niners then I will feel better about the Hawks having a chance in post season because that would make the Cards legit in my opinion. On the flip side if the Hawks dont have a solid win against the Rams then were in trouble. RW was lost out there and had a bad game for the first ntime ever,,,I mean terrible. He looked out of sorts,confused and frustrated. It would be a lie if I said I hadn’t lost confidence in what I thought was an improving team after the saints win. At this point they may one the road and one and done. I hope im worng. GO HAWKS!!

  8. mtball says: Dec 27, 2013 1:57 AM

    Best team in the NFC? No. Better than any team in the NFC North right now? Absolutely, and that is coming from a Packers fan. Nobody from the North deserves a playoff bid this year…

  9. norcaldeportes says: Dec 27, 2013 1:57 AM

    I actually agree with this. If I were an opposing team, I’d rather play the Panthers, Saints, NFC East “champ”, NFC North “champ” and maybe the 49ers or Seahawks at this point.

  10. logicalvoiceseys says: Dec 27, 2013 1:58 AM

    Said no one ever.

  11. superleadhead says: Dec 27, 2013 2:06 AM

    I remember one year when the Niners were 10 and 6. They were the hottest hand in the NFL and didn’t make the playoffs. The No Fun League needs to rethink their playoff system.

  12. fumblenuts says: Dec 27, 2013 2:11 AM

    Really??

    Prove it and beat the 49ers this Sunday…..

  13. andyb02 says: Dec 27, 2013 2:14 AM

    He Calais, remember when the Eagles beat you? You may have a better defense but your offense is a joke.

  14. trollaikman8 says: Dec 27, 2013 2:19 AM

    It’s sad that the Cowboys/Eagles/Bears/Peckers have better odds of getting into the playoffs than Arizona.

    Nobody wants to face that defense.

  15. eaglesfan036 says: Dec 27, 2013 2:21 AM

    The best team in the NFC doesn’t lose to the Eagles.

  16. arwiv says: Dec 27, 2013 2:24 AM

    This is why divisions need to be abolished. To go 11-5 and miss the dance while a 9-7 team possibly makes the playoffs is insanity.

    2 conferences….top 4 make the playoffs in each conference and then let the chips fall where they may….best record always has home field.

  17. phx1311 says: Dec 27, 2013 2:38 AM

    His opinion…..and i agree with every word.

  18. adoombray says: Dec 27, 2013 2:41 AM

    that town deserves a winner. Cardinal fans have sold out every game since the stadium opened and have put up with awful QB play since Kurt Warner (who is a near mythic figure in the Valley of the Sun)

  19. dino2997 says: Dec 27, 2013 2:42 AM

    Playoffs are a different animal and if they have to go from Arizona to a cold weather city I wouldn’t bet on them winning.

  20. rwhite84 says: Dec 27, 2013 2:46 AM

    A. I would say the Panthers have been the best team over the last 8 weeks.

    B. How is a team with a turnover machine at QB, and a weak run game the team no one wants to face in the playoffs? I would much rather face them than the Saints or 49ers.

  21. favresweiner says: Dec 27, 2013 3:35 AM

    I don’t think anybody is scared of Carson Palmer though….

  22. kenny328usa says: Dec 27, 2013 3:41 AM

    7-1 in their last 8 pretty impressive. And their only loss was to (how ironic) the best team in the NFC…..the Eagles

  23. ricosauve49ers says: Dec 27, 2013 3:41 AM

    I dunno. Prior to Seahawks game, Titans QB threw 400+ yds and 4 TDs.

  24. meatcarroll says: Dec 27, 2013 3:42 AM

    He’s also the most humble.

  25. bantry1234 says: Dec 27, 2013 3:47 AM

    The fact that piles of garbage like the Packers or Bears will get in instead of Arizona is revolting.

  26. rugolin says: Dec 27, 2013 4:05 AM

    This should be a good example to change the NFL playoff system. It is kind of stupid that the Cardinals should miss the playoffs at a possible 11-5 but 2 other teams get in at 8-8 or 9-7. They should ditch the division winner format and just have the top 6 teams go to the playoffs regardless where they come from. I am not sure how anyone can defend the divisional format that keeps allowing .500 teams into the playoffs.

  27. irootforthecardinals says: Dec 27, 2013 4:46 AM

    C’monnnnn Bucs!!!

  28. kingpel says: Dec 27, 2013 4:47 AM

    If they beat San Francisco and Seattle in back to back weeks, I don’t think we can argue with Campbell. Too bad it is going to come down to the Buccaneers winning in New Orleans for them to prove it on the field.

    But since they lost to Philadelphia and they lost to New Orleans they will have a hard time arguing that they deserve a spot over those teams no matter what the records say.

  29. bobbyinlondon says: Dec 27, 2013 5:00 AM

    I don’t know about being the best team in the NFC right now. The Cards lost to the Eagles who are competing this weekend for their division championship. Most of the Cards wins have come at home. While their win at Seattle was impressive, they’ve still lost 3-4 games on the road–the Eagles are 5-2 on the road.

  30. brooklyn40niner says: Dec 27, 2013 5:05 AM

    Did they legalize pot in Arizona as well?

  31. jettblackly says: Dec 27, 2013 5:08 AM

    7-1 is good. But who is the 1 they lost to? That just might be the best team in the NFC. Eagles.

  32. 1bigtex says: Dec 27, 2013 5:18 AM

    Yeah, the Cards have a chance to go 11-5 and still not make the playoffs. Palmer looks like a shoe-in for another 4,000 yard season. Wonderful personnel management in Oakland to give up a first and a second for a guy. Then decide to bow up and dump him for a fifth to a team where he throws for another 4K and has them performing well in the toughest division in football.

    Great job Reggie!

  33. geeoh2k13 says: Dec 27, 2013 5:20 AM

    I’m definitely proud of how well this team had been playing. Just goes to show how good a team can be with a competent QB. Lord knows we’ve had some stinkers around here recently. Sure Palmer has made plenty of mistakes, but he has also been getting the job done when it matters.

  34. bonniebengal says: Dec 27, 2013 5:36 AM

    Oh how I would love for my Bengals to get a chance to beat up the Carson Palmer in the Super Bowl.

  35. arizonasdj says: Dec 27, 2013 6:13 AM

    I agree 100% if the cardinals don’t make the post season it will be a shame. I can’t think of any team playing better right now. If the Cardinals make it in, they will go to the Super Bowl. Take that to the bank

  36. macjacmccoy says: Dec 27, 2013 6:45 AM

    If they do some how get in they will most likely play the Eagles in the 1st round. A team that gave the Cardinals their one loss and has gone 6-1 theirselves. The only noise that would be heard in that game would be the sound Campbell’s ankles make when Shady breaks them.

  37. gallaghedj311 says: Dec 27, 2013 7:00 AM

    No mention of the team that gave them the loss…..Philly. Another team that no one is going to want to play if they get in….

  38. jbniner says: Dec 27, 2013 7:32 AM

    Many of these plays happen so fast that the officials can’t keep up. It seems they go based on sound rather than actual point of contact. I’d hate for one of these calls to be made at a critical point in a postseason game.

  39. explosionsauce says: Dec 27, 2013 7:32 AM

    He should get to 11-5 before talking about it. He’s acting like they’ve already gotten past one of the best teams in the NFL already.

  40. bigbaldpapahawk says: Dec 27, 2013 7:45 AM

    They are strong no doubt. The NFC West IS the best division in the NFL. From the Hawks to the Cards to the Niners… That is 3 teams in the NFC West that could each hands-down win the division in at least 6 of the 8 divisions in the league and the Rams are rising.

    This division is going to be ultra-competitive for a long time.

  41. bmorepositive123 says: Dec 27, 2013 7:50 AM

    I think the four division winners should be guaranteed a playoff spot, but the seedings should be soley based on record. If the two best teams come out of one division, they should be #1 and #2. Winning the most games should be rewarded with home playoff games. The fans of those teams deserve it. This way teams like the Eagles (last week) and the Chiefs (this week) don’t have meaningless or mostly meaningless games.

  42. captainkoonswatch says: Dec 27, 2013 7:59 AM

    Shame that this team may be sitting out of the playoffs and GB or Chicago will be in.
    Rules should be changed to allow the better teams into the playoffs regardless of whether a sorry team wins the title of their pathetic division.

  43. doner80 says: Dec 27, 2013 7:59 AM

    The packers suck and they might get in what a waste of a playoff birth one and done!!!

  44. mugs9339 says: Dec 27, 2013 8:00 AM

    He has a fair argument. That defense is fun to watch. The NFC west is clearly the best division in football and it’s not close. The Rams even have a very bright future. It’s a shame that in the AFC a team can get in (possibly) at 8-8 and the Cards may not make it at 11-5.

  45. pabrownsfan says: Dec 27, 2013 8:08 AM

    It would be a crime if they don’t make it when afc teams might go at 8 -8.

  46. titansbro says: Dec 27, 2013 8:13 AM

    They deserve to be in the playoffs. Going 11-5 in that division is like going 13-3 or 14-2 in some of the weaker divisions. Zona is legit people. Oh well, them’s the breaks I guess.

  47. eaglesmetal says: Dec 27, 2013 8:14 AM

    Philadelphia ran the ball fairly well against the vaunted “best run defense in the NFL” in that one loss over the last 8 games. They’re coming off a great victory in Seattle last week, and are feeling pretty good about themselves. But you can’t call yourself the best team in the NFC when you likely won’t even make the playoffs.

    They’re not going to be the team no one wants to play. I’m an Eagles fan. The Eagles are the Cardinals one loss and I’d be happy to welcome them back to the Linc for another loss.

  48. starderup says: Dec 27, 2013 8:16 AM

    They are better than most people give them credit for, but best? No.
    When the playoffs are on the line, the niners will usually not fail. If they win, they are going to earn it.

  49. mythaimyke says: Dec 27, 2013 8:23 AM

    We all have dreams!!! Dream on!

  50. whatjusthapped says: Dec 27, 2013 8:25 AM

    The Cardinals should trade Campbell to Rex Ryan and the Jets. They could enjoy their mythical championships every year.

  51. fordmandalay says: Dec 27, 2013 8:29 AM

    All the chips probably won’t fall together for them to make the playoffs this year, but they’re in a good situation for next year – except at QB, Palmer will need to be replaced. I’m betting Michael Vick as a Cardinal next year.

  52. wfederal says: Dec 27, 2013 8:34 AM

    The Panthers got a lot of flack for losing to the Cardinals earlier. Not looking so ridiculous now is it? The Cardinals have looked great this season. Hope you guys can make it in (and that the Saints are watching the playoffs from their couch).

  53. TheDPR says: Dec 27, 2013 8:38 AM

    Can’t really argue with him. They’re playing excellent football and it would be a shame for them to miss the playoffs.

  54. parasolmonster says: Dec 27, 2013 8:55 AM

    Calais, hopefully you somehow qualify and can visit Philadelphia again in the playoffs. Might jog your memory about another NFC team.

  55. janvanflac says: Dec 27, 2013 8:59 AM

    They’re a very good team but not the best in the NFC. They’re not even best in their own division….third, actually. And if they do get into the playoffs, NO WAY do they beat Seattle 2x at home. Not going to happen.

  56. alexg114 says: Dec 27, 2013 9:26 AM

    Waahhhh we are 7-1 in the last 8 weeks.. we should be in the playoffs.. Waahhhh..

    Well maybe if you were 8-0 in the last 8 weeks you would be.. but you can’t beat the Eagles!!

    Also shouldn’t the begining of he season count for something:

    A loss to the Rams to begin the season? HAHA .. yeah big time playoff team there…

    Getting blown out NO in Week 3 .. 31-7 and you think you should be in the playoffs before them?? Give me a break..

    Stop this crap with the cardinals!!

  57. tennesseeoilers says: Dec 27, 2013 9:42 AM

    “Over the last eight weeks, no one has played as well as the Arizona Cardinals.”

    If you had said, “no one has played better than,” then I would’ve let it pass. But even a Titans fan like me who focuses primarily on the AFC knows that over the last eight weeks, no one has played better than the Carolina Panthers.

  58. raiderlyfe510 says: Dec 27, 2013 10:14 AM

    Didn’t their QB just throw 4 Ints? You’re not winning in January with a QB like that.

  59. bengalsucker says: Dec 27, 2013 10:16 AM

    I think he’s getting a bit ahead of himself going that far. He has a QB that can implode at any time. Not a QB I’d trust to take me into the playoffs at this point in his career. But what else was he going to say? We’re the 4th best in the NFC? No. He’s obviously going to say he feels they’re the best right now. Maybe the hottest, but not the best all around team. I’d rather see them than San Fran or Seattle any day.

  60. egomaniac247 says: Dec 27, 2013 10:20 AM

    As a Cards fan, I’m really proud of this team and what Bruce Arians has been able to bring to it.

    Playoffs or not, things are finally pointed in the right direction in Arizona again, which we haven’t been able to say since Kurt Warner retired.

  61. brettfavresmidget says: Dec 27, 2013 10:24 AM

    Carson Palmer was asked to pass the mash potatoes at Christmas Dinner. Grandma intercepted it and returned it for a touchdown.

  62. m3dman3 says: Dec 27, 2013 10:26 AM

    lol

  63. TBaySlim says: Dec 27, 2013 10:41 AM

    people are talking about the eagles being the NFC’s best comon people wake up, they got blown out by the Vikings a 4 win team, eagles are decent, not great

  64. norcaldeportes says: Dec 27, 2013 10:52 AM

    They certainly could beat Seattle 2X at home. Palmer had 4 turnovers in that game & they still won.

  65. azredsea says: Dec 27, 2013 11:00 AM

    Why all the references to the Iggles on this board?

    Just remember the NFC championship game that the RedBirds sent you home crying….Oh yeah dont both teams have the same amount of Superbowl wins?? Thought so….

    Yes the Cardinals should have won and didn’t–OK I get that but this team has been playing exceptionally well….

    And Calais is not wrong and appreciate that type of mindset—if you saw the interview it was nothing like a Rex Ryan comment so whoever said that should watch the interview.

    If the Cardinals do not get to the playoffs they will look back to the the games that they were very close (Rams/Niners/Iggles)

    Overall this team has over exceeded and has done better than anyone had predicted.

    Peace out

  66. shatho1 says: Dec 27, 2013 11:05 AM

    they should keep the division winners in the playoffs but change the wild card scenario to whoever has the best record after the regular season is over…. just a thought.

  67. autumnwind999 says: Dec 27, 2013 11:12 AM

    Heck, even the Rams can get after you on defense. Saw them demolish some pretty good teams this year. NFC West this year may be one of the best top to bottom divisions ever defensively.

  68. radar8 says: Dec 27, 2013 12:23 PM

    To those complaining about the playoff system being bad…. 9-7 teams getting in and 11-5 not getting in. The record doesn’t always tell the tale. Consider this:

    Division A: Four of the best teams in the league. They play 6 division games and one team, even though they’re the 4th best in the league, loses all six games. They then only lose 1 game the rest of the year. They end up with a 9-7 record.
    So, in this example, the 4th best team in the league ends up with a bad record and misses the playoffs.

  69. pnwl4a says: Dec 27, 2013 1:14 PM

    As a Hawks fan I completely imploded after that AZ game.
    But heres the deal on that… Az’s offense is horrible, yes horrible.. but their defense was lights out.. yes they had losses coming into Sea, but remember these are grown men playing a the top of their professions.. any given sunday my friend… much like the 49ers losing to the Saints, only for the Saints to get blown away by the Hawks, who then lost by a few points to those 9ers. Any given Sunday… kudos to the Cardinals for a great game against the Hawks… Now Cards, do us all a favor and dismantle SF.

  70. redbirdsrising says: Dec 27, 2013 3:33 PM

    Cards fan here. Though I’d be disappointed if we missed the playoffs with 10 or 11 wins, NOBODY in the fan base imagined the team would have this level of success so soon. It’s been a fun team to watch and with a year under their belts in their respective systems, this team has a lot of potential next year.

    Think about that… used to be we’d go 4-12 and say “Well there’s always next year!”, now its a legitimate battle cry.

    BTW, as much as it would suck to get left out at 11-5, if the NFL expanded to 7 or 8 teams per conference, that means if one conference is up one year (like the NFC this year or the AFC in 2008 when the Pats got left out at 11-5), that means the other conference will send 8-8 and maybe even a 7-9 team as a wild card. Think about how ugly THAT would be.

  71. omeimontis says: Dec 28, 2013 5:42 AM

    The Niners will make sure the Cards will finish 10-6, and they can go home without any complaints.

  72. cardsfan0467 says: Dec 28, 2013 9:06 AM

    Cards, great season!!! No matter what? Show the 9′ers that the first meeting was early. Even now, we are a much better team than in weeks 7-8. Shut them down, just to prove a point. GO CARDS!!!

  73. jimmyjames65 says: Dec 28, 2013 6:08 PM

    It would be a crime if they don’t make it when afc teams might go at 8 -8. ————-But an 8-8 AFC North team will make the playoffs at 8-8 and win a SB. People love to crown their teams. But in the NFL it’s about making the playoffs and playing your best football. The playoff format is fair. Four division winners and Two wildcards. The NFL doesn’t need anymore playoff games. The season is brutal enough. Good luck Arizona. Your team is in the playoff hunt in week 17. Good luck to the AFC North Bengals. Congrats on winning the division. Not next year.

  74. jimmyjames65 says: Dec 28, 2013 6:15 PM

    The Niners will make sure the Cards will finish 10-6, and they can go home without any complaints.—–Whoever said they were 11-5? Don’t they have to play a game on Sunday? 10-6 in the playoff hunt. Better luck next year.

  75. jimmyjames65 says: Dec 28, 2013 6:20 PM

    This sounds like a 49er warm-up playoff game. That division is tough. It helps when it’s playoff time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an NFC West team in the SB.

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