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Is This the Year the Arizona Cardinals Win the NFC West?

August 21st, 2014 at 6:57 AM
By Steve Smith

Is this the season the Arizona Cardinals capture the NFC West crown?

The Red Birds were in the playoff hunt until the final game of the 2013 season when they dropped a home contest to the 49ers. They made a five-game improvement from the previous season, finishing with a 10-6 record.

Arizona was the only team to beat Super Bowl champion Seattle at Century Link Field, the loudest stadium in the NFL. The Cards have a lot of momentum heading into the 2014 campaign but things just got a lot tougher now that they lost Darnell Dockett for the season with a torn ACL.

No one said it was going to be easy. So is this year the Cardinals break through?

"The time is now," Arizona's star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald told espn.com. "We know we have to take care of our division first. That's the fastest way to get in the playoffs. That's where our goal is — to win the NFC West."

Last offseason's overhaul of the Red Birds roster was looked at as a bridge from one coaching regime to another. This year, however, the Cardinals' offseason moves have been geared to filling specific needs that can put them over the hump.

Even though the Red Birds lost starters Karlos Dansby, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Winston, Daryn Colledge and Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona's additions addressed bigger needs than the ones left by those five.

"We're built to win now," Fitzgerald explained. "We have a tough division but I think we line up and match up pretty well with everybody we face."

The additions of left tackle Jared Veldheer, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver Ted Ginn coupled with last season's strong finish, have set the bar higher than it's been in a few seasons. For Fitzgerald, who's entering his 11th season, this year's team is the closest to being as good as Arizona's 2008 squad that lost in the Super Bowl to Pittsburgh since that run.

"The way we finished last year," Fitzgerald said, "the way we're built to be dominant on both fronts — offensive and defensive lines — the quarterback that we have, the skill players that we have surrounding him, I think gives us a great chance to go out and compete at the highest level."

That's music to the ears of Arizona Cardinals fans.

No doubt.

Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Darnell Dockett, Eric Winston, Football, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL

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