Cardinals, Stanton out to earn respect

At 9-1, the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL, but plenty of doubters remain with QB Drew Stanton at the helm.

Despite coming off a 10-6 record a year ago, the Arizona Cardinals have been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises so far this season. At 9-1, Arizona has the best record in the league but still plenty of doubters remain as the Cardinals might not be getting the respect they’re due.

Luckily for Arizona, a tricky remaining schedule will give the team even more chances to silence its critics. As if wins against the San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and most recently the Detroit Lions weren’t enough, the Cardinals have plenty of opportunities to stay in the spotlight and prove the doubters wrong, once and for all.

That spotlight starts this week as Arizona travels to battle the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. There’s no doubt that Seattle (6-4) is suffering from the infamous Super Bowl hangover, but the Seahawks remain almost unbeatable at home.

The Cardinals, however, have been there and done that as they’re one of only two teams to win in Seattle over the past two and a half seasons.

With the Seahawks’ season on the line this week, Arizona will certainly get Seattle’s best shot. The Seahawks’ coaches, players, fans and anyone else affiliated with the team will be out to avenge last season’s home loss while also staying in the NFC playoff race.

After this week’s matchup with the Seahawks, Arizona gets a seemingly easy game on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. On paper this appears to be the Cardinals’ easiest remaining game, but we’re guessing it will be more difficult than the experts think.

A Week 15 tilt with the St. Louis Rams also falls into this category as the Rams have already proven to be a spoiler, knocking of some of the NFL’s best teams this year, most recently the Denver Broncos in convincing fashion.

In addition to the games above, Arizona has another game against Seattle, this time at home, and finishes the year with a road trip to battle the 49ers. The only other game we forgot to mention is a Week 14 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs, who by the way, are also jockeying for a playoff spot in the AFC.

The Cardinals have been underdogs for the better part of this century, so this is certainly nothing new for the franchise, but one has to wonder when the team will get the respect that it’s earned.

Arizona is now 19-7 over its last 26 games so clearly that underdog label deserves to be shed.

Just when it looked like the Cardinals were ready to be considered as a true contender, both for the playoffs and the Super Bowl, QB Carson Palmer went down for the season. The experts once again wrote the team off and now backup turned starter Drew Stanton has been forced to restart the process of being a legitimate title contender.

Stanton passed his first couple of tests with flying colors, leading Arizona to a come from behind victory against the Rams two weeks ago and a 14-6 win against the Lions last Sunday.

Should Stanton and the Cardinals prevail again on Sunday, perhaps he and Arizona will get the respect they deserve.

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