The Arizona Cardinals are in an interesting (and unforturnate) situation. They are 9-5, good enough for first place in 4 NFL divisions, yet they are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs. It doesn’t help that the NFC is clearly the stronger conference, with powerhouses such as Seattle, San Francisco, Carolina, and New Orleans all tying up potential playoff spots. Arizona looked to be in for a messy season after a week one loss to the Rams. In that loss, Carson Palmer looked erratic and turnover prone, and many fans groaned, wondering when their team would ever get a franchise QB. Since then, Bruce Arian’s club has been largely sucessful, only losing to Seattle, SF, the Saints, and Philedalphia. The only team there that they really should have beaten was the Eagles. They own a tiebreaker against Carolina if it comes to that, and they embarresed the Colts. In recent weeks, Palmer has stepped up his play and is looking like he did in his prime in Cinncinati. With strong quarterback play, the offense is humming and running on all cylinders. Patrick Peterson is making his case as the number corner in the league-Darrelle Revis looked really bad last Sunday-and John Abraham, Darnell Dockett, and Daryl Washington has really played well. Losing Tyrann Mathieu to an ACL tear will hurt, but the defense has grown together over the season. Arians has done a fantastic job with offense, and this is a team that could end up winning 10 games but missing the playoffs. That seems a little unfair, given that the both the Eagles and the Bears have defenses made out of Swiss Cheese and will be torn up by Cam Newton and Frank Gore. Arizona is a team that deserves to make the playoffs, but unless they get lucky, they most likely will not. It’s unfortunate, but the potential of this team makes the NFC West nervous for the years to come.