Cardinals representin’

With the Niners out of the playoff picture, my heart is clearly with the Arizona Cardinals. Coming into the playoffs they were seen as the weakest of all the contenders, but boy oh boy, have they “shown up.” They played a very solid winning game as the under dog to the up start Atlanta Falcons, then just took major advantage of the bumbling Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers in round two. Basically no one had the Cardinals winning in Charlotte, and many people, including yours truly, thought the Panthers could make it to the Super Bowl. A couple of observations about the ‘Nals that the Niners might want to “observe” (like they haven’t?), going into next season.  First, their offensive line is playing very well, especially tackles Mike Gandy and Levi Brown. This play has afforded Kurt Warner more than adequate time to throw, and when Warner has time, bad things can happen to opponents, as they have in the first two playoff games. Secondly, the Cardinals appear to have made a wonderful number one draft pick in 2008 in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. This guy is a splendid athlete…………..long and lean with excellent ball instincts. He has joined a secondary with another number one pick, Antrel Rolle, and monster (6’3″, 225lbs) strong safety Adrian Wilson to give the Cardinals three real impact defensive backs. These guys have been tested all year because the Cardinals, much like the Niners, are not a formidable pass rushing team. They have responded, and continue to play superior football in the playoffs. So, can the Cardinals continue their “Cinderalla Story” against the Eagles or the Giants and get into the Super Bowl? That would be too cool for school! Remember, the ‘Nals did not have Anquan Boldin against Carolina. Larry Fitzgerald was a one man wrecking crew, even without Boldin. If Boldin is good to go in the NFC Championship Game, Warner continues to get time to throw,  the Cardinals can keep either opponent honest with some running yardage from Eddergin James and Tim Hightower, and they can continue to play solid defense, especially run defense as they have, I think they have a real good chance. I know, that’s a lot of “if”s”, but all are clearly deliverable. Go ‘Nals!

MN

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