The Arizona Cardinals have gotten off to a miserable start this season but it wouldn't be evident from looking at the team's record, which, astoundingly, has them tied for first place in the NFC West with the very team they play this Sunday: the Seattle Seahawks.
The Cards are 3-2 on the season following a big win against the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints two weeks ago.
A by-week last week gave the Cardinals a chance to iron out some of the glitches in the offense -- and warm up to rookie quarterback Max Hall -- and try to perfect a defense that, while good against New Orleans, has been inconsistent all season.
Hall was named the NFL's rookie of the week following his performance in his first pro start against the Saints two weeks ago, which should help the young quarterback's confidence. But it doesn't take away from the fact that even thought the Cards won the game, the offense didn't score a single passing or running touchdown -- rather, the majority of the Cardinals points were scored on flukey fumbles that went their way and defensive turnovers.
While the two didn't hook up for any touchdowns, Hall and star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald seemed to have a chemistry that Fitzgerald clearly didn't have with quarterback Derek Anderson, who began the season as the team's starter.
Fitzgerald and Hall hooked up seven times for 93 yards in the win over New Orleans, which is a vast improvement from Anderson, whose only constant with Fitzgerald was his ability to miss him.
Fitzgerald's been hurt for much of the season with a nagging knee injury, which has limited his productiveness. But this could be a big week for Fitz -- the by-week gave his knee time to heal and the big news for Sunday is the man covering Fitzgerald is a rookie.
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Cornerback Walter Thurmond will be covering Fitzgerald Sunday and the first-year standout out of Oregon isn't acting cocky.
"This is what you live for is to go against the best,'' Thurmond told the Associated Press today. "I hope I can go against Larry the whole time. They're going to mix and move him around and get different matchups they want so they can get him the ball. We're going to play our sides, me and Marcus (Trufant) and play to the best of our abilities.''
If the Cards defense can put on even half the show it did against the Saints, and Hall can find Fitzgerald when he's open, the team stands a good chance at claiming first place in the dire NFC West, which is an accomplishment (sort of).
Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. For more Cards info click here.