Cardinals True Contenders in NFC

The Arizona Cardinals snapped a regular season trend of losing on the East Coast with a 24-17 victory against the New York Giants. The Cardinals played arguably their most complete game of the season and are alone on top of the NFC West standings with a record of 4-2. Brad Wilbricht breaks down where Arizona stands in the NFC and dissects how they match-up with the conference's best teams.

Following a 1-2 record in the first three games, the Arizona Cardinals were suffering from the proverbial Super Bowl hangover. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers were the toast of the NFC with a record of 3-1 and their only loss coming against the Minnesota Vikings on a Hail Mary to end the game. How quickly things can change as the Cardinals have regained the top spot in the NFC West following San Francisco's recent two-game skid.

Although Arizona looks to be the class of its division for the second consecutive season, there's plenty of stout competition to go around in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints boast the conference's only undefeated record and are putting up historic numbers on the offensive side of the ball. In addition, the Saints' defense has risen to the occasion when called up through the team's first six games of the year.

Drew Brees
(AP Photo)

While the NFC East division is widely thought of as the strongest division in the NFC, the Saints have already dismantled two of its crown jewels. New Orleans throttled the Giants by the tune of 48-27 two weeks ago and dominated the Philadelphia Eagles 48-22 on the road in Week 2. Saints QB Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards in each contest and the New Orleans defense forced a combined six turnovers.

Given the Cardinals' potent offense, few teams may match up better with Saints. Both squads feature play-making defenses which would leave the turnover battle likely determining the outcome. This potential marquee matchup would put two of the NFL's top signal callers in Brees and Kurt Warner as well as two of the top wideouts in Larry Fitzgerald and Marques Colston. New Orleans' running game has been more effective thus far giving them the edge at this point in the year.

Another team standing in the way of Arizona's NFC championship defense is the 6-1 Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings suffered their first loss of the year against the Pittsburgh Steelers but looked competitive in the Steel City. The Cardinals will get a better feel for how they stack up against Minnesota when they square off in the desert in Week 13. The Vikings NFC North rival Green Bay Packers check in with a record of 4-2 and will also make to the Arizona in the regular season finale.

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