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.”