The Arizona Cardinals will have a chance to move forward off their first postseason appearance since 2009 but will need to do so in arguably the NFL’s most difficult division.
Coach Bruce Arians has done a tremendous job of changing the culture in Arizona and has assembled a solid roster on both sides of the ball.
QB Carson Palmer will need to stay healthy and potential breakout players such as WR John Brown and RB David Johnson will need to emerge, but if they do Arizona should be in position to make another run at the playoffs.
The Cardinals get no favors playing in the NFC West as the Seattle Seahawks are once again expected to be the class of the NFC.
San Francisco is still a bit of an unknown and the St. Louis Rams are on the rise.
Seattle Seahawks Scouting Report:
Unfortunately for Arizona, it resides in arguably the toughest division in the NFL along with the two-time reigning NFC Champions. If the Cardinals take a step forward this year, they’ll have to go through Seattle to accomplish that.
The reigning NFC Champs are once again amongst the class of the NFL’s best. The addition of TE Jimmy Graham will make or break the development of the Seahawks' 2015 campaign, most likely making the team even better, which is hard to imagine.
San Francisco 49ers Scouting Report:
San Francisco enters 2015 as a relative unknown with a new coaching staff. Beating the Seahawks may be too much to ask of Arizona but it needs to handle the 49ers to ensure a top two position in the division.
The 49ers have a fresh start with a new coaching staff but will they be able to move forward without Jim Harbaugh? Although Harbaugh and the San Francisco front office clashed but it remains to be seen in the parting of ways will benefit the organization.
St. Louis Rams Scouting Report:
The Rams have been on the verge of climbing out of the division cellar for a few years now and this may finally be their time. QB Nick Foles is expected to breathe life into the St. Louis offense and has plenty of playmakers around him. Defensively, this team is a stout and explosive as any in the league.
The Sam Bradford era is over and the Rams might be one of the fastest improving teams in the NFL. RB Todd Gurley provides the running game with some explosiveness and the team's defense is as stout as they come.
Arizona’s remaining schedule - outside of the decision - features matchups with the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, so nothing will come easy.
The Cardinals will have chance to wrestle the division away from the Seahawks if they're able to navigate through the ever-so-tough NFC West and conquer a challenging remaining schedule.
Arizona certainly has the personnel and depth to earn a second straight playoff berth but it certainly won’t be easy. The team will also need the health of Palmer to stay intact for the entire 16-game regular season in order to reach the postseason.
Cardinals sizing up the NFC West
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