Arizona Cardinals: Strong finish leaves fans optimistic

Impressive road victories in the final two games has Arizona Cardinals’ fans thinking the team could make a run next season

It’s too bad the Arizona Cardinals won’t be competing in this year’s NFL playoffs. The team that showed up for the final two games of the season was impressive. In fact, they’re probably playing as well as any team that’s in the playoffs right now.

Despite a 7-8-1 record, their performance over the last couple of weeks has given fans optimism for next fall. Two victories over division foes on the road to finish the year have the Cards’ faithful wondering what could’ve been.

The win over the Seattle Seahawks on Christmas Eve was a thing of beauty. Watching them rally to regain a lead they had squandered in the final minute had the heart racing. The fact that Bruce Arians’ squad had zero to play for made the effort even more respectable.

This past Sunday’s demolition of the Los Angeles Rams was gratifying even though it was against a team that’s putrid. The Rams have been a constant thorn in the side of Arizona. They’ve beaten the Cards this season and last in University of Phoenix Stadium.

The main reason for the optimism has been the play of quarterback Carson Palmer. His performance lately has Cards’ followers believing once again that the club could win with him in 2017.

Important personnel moves need to be executed by the team’s front office. Steve Keim’s track record has been pretty good in free agency. His early-round draft picks need to improve, but he has shown an ability to find contributors with his later picks.

The word for the 2017 campaign is gonna be reload, not rebuild. As long as Arians, Palmer and possibly Larry Fitzgerald are still part of the equation, Super Bowl aspirations remain in the conversation. If the team that finished this season on fire shows up in September, a championship will not be out of the question.

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