In today's NFL, if you don't have a good quarterback, you can't compete on any level, much less make it to the playoffs or win the Super Bowl. The Cardinals have had good seasons over the past two years, and the reason they weren't great was quarterback play (and, of course, playing in the same division as the Seattle Seahawks, who won the title following the '13 season). Carson Palmer was no slouch during the '13 season, passing for 4,274 yards on 362 attempts, but it was his first year playing in coach Bruce Arians' system. By the '14 season, Palmer had the system down; the team's offense started to click, but Palmer went down with a knee injury in the sixth game, after throwing 11 touchdown passes well before the middle of the regular season. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton filled in admirably until he, too, got injured. The Cardinals turned in an 11-5 record, but — forced to play with a third-string QB — were embarrassed by their one-and-done performance in the playoffs. Which is why Palmer is the linchpin to the Cardinals' success this season. After winning the Heisman Trophy at USC and getting picked first in the 2003 NFL draft, Palmer played the bulk of his pro career for mediocre Cincinnati Bengals teams. Now's he's on a team that has all the components to challenge the Seahawks for the division title, and if they succeed (because Seattle has been the best team in the NFC), this should mean a berth in the Super Bowl. Palmer has all the tools: He was the only NFL quarterback to beat the Seahawks on their home field when he was healthy in '13, leading Arizona to a 17-10 victory.