Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are playing legit football

Arizona Cardinals

Winning a game against the Giants doesn’t make the Cardinals playoff contenders, but it does signify real progress in Arizona. 

The Cardinals entered the season as one of the most difficult teams in the NFL team to predict. Combining a first-year head coach in Kliff Kingsbury with a rookie quarterback in the form of Kyler Murray made Arizona a high variance team. As it turns out, the Cardinals have the makings of a perfectly respectable football team.

Winning a road game at the Giants by only six points doesn’t qualify the Cardinals as playoff contenders, but it is a nice victory for a team that didn’t expect to get many this year. The victory over New York raises Arizona’s record to 3-3-1 on the year. That may leave them in last place in the NFC West, but it does show the Cardinals aren’t going to be an easy victory for anyone.

The star of the show against the Giants was clearly running back Chase Edmonds. David Johnson was active in the game, but he only carried the ball once for two yards. Edmonds, in sharp contrast, ran wild for 126 yards on 27 carries. More importantly, he found the back of the end zone three times in his breakout game.

That helped the Cardinals overcome a rather pedestrian game from Murray. He toted the ball 10 times but only managed to produce 28 yards on the ground. His aerial statistics were just as ordinary. Murray deserves credit for not turning the ball over, but he still only completed 14 passes for 104 yards on the afternoon.

Outside of Edmonds, the Cardinals defense was the next biggest star of the game for Kingsbury and his coaching staff. They turned Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones over three times with one interception and a pair of fumbles. The team’s pass rush was particularly ferocious. They got to Jones for eight sacks on the afternoon.

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None of this means the Cardinals are going to go on a big run and crash the NFC playoff party in 2019, but it does prove the franchise is ahead of schedule. There’s still plenty of rebuilding to do in Arizona, but the foundation is stronger than most would have projected at this point in the season.

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