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Cardinals have look of Super Bowl contender

The Arizona Cardinals are 2-0, and perhaps the most impressive team thus far in the National Football League. Arizona would get an argument from the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, but Arizona has been the most complete team in the league through two weeks.

In Week 1, the Cardinals were able to defeat the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium, notching a 31-19 victory. In the game, Carson Palmer looked completely healthy after tearing his ACL toward the end of the 2014 season, throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Last week, Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for a trio of touchdowns including a 28-yard flea-flicker, tearing up the Chicago Bears at Solider Field.

Arizona has a bevy of weapons, with Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown on the outside. Palmer also has Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson and rookie David Johnson in the backfield. Considering head coach Bruce Arians is the wizard at the controls, the Cardinals have ample ways to beat almost any defense.

Over the past two seasons, it was always the Seattle Seahawks getting in Arizona’s way. In 2013, the Cardinals won 10 games and looked every bit like a playoff team, but finished third in the NFC West behind the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, who played in the NFC Championship game. Last year, the Cardinals had to start Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley after Palmer blew out his ACL in the final weeks. Still, they won 11 games and finished one game off Seattle’s pace.

This season, it appears things are going to be different, provided good health sees the Cardinals through. Arizona is already a full two games ahead of Seattle, with the Seahawks having a division loss to the St. Louis Rams. The two teams don’t meet until Week 10 at CenturyLink Field, with Arizona coming off its BYE week. Before then, the Cardinals have a pair of division games with the Rams and 49ers both visiting the desert.

With the 49ers looking like a 5-11 outfit (at best) and the Rams appearing to be on the way toward mediocrity, the Cardinals and Seahawks are going to be fighting deep into the season for control. Seattle has the advantage of being there before, while Arizona is a hungry team on the rise hoping to finally stake its claim as a legitimate Super Bowl contender this time around.

Much of the NFC West’s final standings will depend on Palmer’s health and whether or not Seattle can figure out its offensive line. The Cardinals need to keep chalking up wins while Palmer is upright and Russell Wilson is not. For now, Arizona is the team to beat out west, while Seattle is floundering, hoping to regain its old form.

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