Team Below .500 Most Likely To Turn It Around



By Zack Cimini


At the conclusion of each September the media gets drawn into the teams off to hot starts. The opposite of that of course is berating a team for sinking and failing in September. Statistics are thrown out discounting a chance for those teams to resurrect and recover.


Teams go through waves during a season more than ever. Parity has reared it’s head in just about every division. Typically there are a fair share of teams that exceed expectations early and come back down to Earth.


Defenses have struggled horrendously throughout the NFL in September. As teams get more film study and on field action, more and more weaknesses will get exposed. Injuries will rise, which is always easier to game plan for defensively. Just ask the New York Giants and numerous other teams.


So which team has the best chance at turning things around and still making the playoffs? I will rule out the Philadelphia Eagles, as they were and are expected to turn things around.


The team I give the best chance to are the Arizona Cardinals. Many reasons favor them. Including playing in a weakened division. San Francisco currently at 3-1 has the same nucleus intact that has failed in prior years.


Alex Smith has been given opportunity after opportunity only to disappoint. The running game can carry this team on given weeks as it did last week against the Eagles. When it comes time for Smith to make the big decisive drive or key plays, do you think he will be able to do it consistently? No. He just doesn’t have the superior receivers to make him better than he is.


The Rams and Seahawks just are not the same dangerous teams as a year ago. So sitting at 1-3, the Cardinals just need to take it a game at a time. Losing their last three games by a combined seven points is truly a back breaker. All losses on stagnancy of offense in the fourth quarter.


Signs of that changing are ahead. Beanie Wells rushing for a career high in yards and touchdowns in week four is a great sign. Next will be for Kevin Kolb to work on his mechanics within the pocket and the idiosyncracies of developing in the Cardinals system. He’ll adjust as the season goes on, and those fourth quarter lulls will fade away.


Larry Fitzgerald is not going to be contained much longer with a boosted running game. Look for more play action passes and for the Cardinals to utilize their free agency acquisition of Todd Heap more. Ultimately, the Cardinals still have five games left within the division. They’ll need to win at least eighty percent of them.


From there it is gutting out a few wins over tough teams. Either victories over Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Dallas are needed. 2-2 in those games would be pivotal. Must wins have to happen versus the Bengals and Browns.


Of course this upcoming week dictates if any of that is a possibility. Going up against a Vikings team that has had more disheartening losses than them.


A 1-4 start heading into the bye week could kiss any playoff chances goodbye. Or maybe not, as a 7-9 team made the playoffs from this division a year ago.


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