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A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

The Arizona Cardinals: A 'Super' longshot?

About the Author

Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

No one would put the Arizona Cardinals on their short list of Super Bowl contenders.

But at 60-1, don't they just jump off the board as a live longshot?

Yes, those are the Cardinals' odds to win the NFL title at the MGM Mirage family of sports books. Only the Dolphins (75-1), Chiefs (80-1) and Falcons (125-1) have higher odds. And I think we can agree those teams' odds of winning the Super Bowl are significantly worse than that.

The Cardinals are not without their concerns, certainly. Their offense has moments where it looks it could be something special, especially in the passing game, but injuries are an annual concern. The club has handed the QB job back to Matt Leinart, who struggled in 2007 before suffering a season-ending injury (his second in as many pro seasons). So is he ready to be a 16-game starter? If not, can Kurt Warner pick up where he left off last season, when he threw for 27 touchdowns?

The defense has several star-caliber players, led by S Adrian Wilson, LB Karlos Dansby and DE Darnell Dockett. So why did the Cards surrender about 25 points per game last season? Wilson's injury-shortened season didn't help, and other injuries to key perfomers like OLB Chike Okeafor also have to be considered. But shouldn't that defense have been a little more stout?

In short, the 2007 Cardinals left you wanting more, considering the talent on hand. Hence their lofty odds to win the Super Bowl. First things first, like making the playoffs, right?

And that could very well happen.

The Cardinals play in a division that isn't loaded with quality. Only Seattle is particularly imposing, and the Seahawks have their own issues, like a suspect running game and OL worries. If the Cardinals get some injury luck and improve a little on both sides of the ball, they could be more formidable than they have been in years. OK, they are aren't an A-list Super Bowl contender, but the NFC West title isn't out of the realm of possibility.

So 60-1 to win the whole thing is a little on the high side, isn't it?

Look at this way: The Rams, who are without holdout RB Steven Jackson and lost twice to Arizona last season, are 50-1 at the Mirage.  The Niners are also 50-1, and they haven't settled on a starting QB to run Mike Martz's offense.  

Aren't the Cardinals in better shape than those clubs? I think they are.

The Cardinals opened at 45-1 at the Mirage and have floated up to their current price. A similar thing has happened at Caesars Palace, where Arizona is 45-1 off a 35-1 opening line.

Like so many other seasons, the Cardinals are getting no respect. The difference is that this year, they might be able do something about it.  




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