Arizona Cardinals: Real or Hype?

Football junkies and talking heads all over the country are trying to decide whether the Arizona Cardinals are real or all hype. They see the aerial attack in superstar receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, they've heard how Kurt Warner has resurrected his career in the desert and they more than know the name Edgerrin James, but can the Cardinals pull it all together to be playoff bound?

When the New York Jets spanked the Cardinals, 56-35, and were handed a loss by the Washington Redskins the week prior, the league thought they had the answer: Arizona is not what it says it is. But the Cardinals rallied to a 41-17 victory over the undefeated Buffalo Bills the very next week and put the buzz back on the boards.

Arizona returns to action to face the Dallas Cowboys who are 4-1 on the season and also suffered a loss to the Redskins. The win would put the Cardinals on the map. Sunday's game is the biggest stage of the season for Arizona.

The Jets game was pretty close in magnitude with the Brett Favre fever sweeping the nation, but the Cardinals blew it. Instead of highlight reels of Eric Green or Adrian Wilson picking off Favre, the world saw over and over how Favre threw for the most touchdown passes of his 18-year career.

The Cardinals have another chance to earn the respect of the league. They are teetering on the brink of a winning year and have the opportunity to host the Cowboys who come in with an elite arrogance.

Even more so, the Cardinals are in first place in the NFC West, with their nemesis the Seattle Seahawks pretty much out of contention with just one win. The San Francisco 49ers are only a game behind Arizona, but the Cardinals have already won one on the road against the 49ers. When Arizona takes on San Francisco at home on Nov. 10 it should be a slam-dunk under the spotlights of Monday Night Football.

The Cardinals have to win the division in order to earn a playoff berth. With the talent in the NFC East, the teams could easily wrap up three spots.

Anquan Boldin

So far, the Cardinals have been unlucky with a few key injuries. Including Anquan Boldin, Bertrand Berry, Adrian Wilson and the list goes on. On the flip side, they've relied on depth to get the job done and players who were questionable prior to the game went in to play, such as Wilson.

But the question still remains, are the Cardinals an 8-8 team? In the beginning of the season, Berry said no.

"We are a very talented team right now," Berry said. "Right now we are a healthy team, and I think that's important for us to be healthy. We can accomplish a lot of things if we can maintain our health, so right now we are in a good position as far as that goes. Hopefully that will carry over all through the season."

"We just have to have good luck go our way. Obviously every team deals with that, but I think we've been hit harder than a lot of teams in the past, so hopefully we are due for an injury free season from everybody. If we can do that and keep all of our guys on the field then I really feel that we can do some damage in this league."

Berry asked to return to last week's game, but was held off. He is lobbying for his comeback and could see time against Tony Romo.

On the offensive side of the ball, Kurt Warner recovered from his awful performance in New York and took care of the football in week five.

On the penalty front, the Cardinals are doing better than the Cowboys, who have given up 311 easy yards on 37 penalties, while the Cardinals have 33 on the season with 218 penalty yards.

The last time the two teams met, the Cowboys went home with a 27-10 victory on Nov. 12, 2006 in front of 63,926 fans at the Cardinals new digs. This time, the stage is bigger and the Cardinals have a lot to lose and even more to gain from not letting history repeat itself.

Are the Cardinals for real: time has a way of telling.

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