One could certainly make the argument that the Arizona Cardinals are playing better than anyone in the NFL right now.
The Cards have won seven of the their last eight games and are riding high after becoming the first team in nearly two years to defeat the Seattle Seahawks on their home turf at CenturyLink Field last Sunday.
Yet Arizona (10-5) still needs a win over San Francisco Sunday and have the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints to qualify for this year's postseason.
Despite those two big hurdles, one Cardinals player is supremely confident about his own team. Defensive end Calais Campbell joined NFL AM on NFL Network Thursday and said as much.
"I mean, in my opinion, we're the best team in the NFC," Campbell said. "But I hope we get into the playoffs so we can show it, because going 11-5 -- but you don't make it to the playoffs -- nobody really knows. The only teams we talk about are the playoff teams. So we really hope we get a chance to get in. I know if we do, we will do some damage."
Following the Seattle win which featured a dominant, swarming defensive effort, Campbell proclaimed this "the best defense he's played on," which is noteworthy because he was a member of the 2008 Cardinals team which played in Super Bowl XLIII.
"That team was special, but I think this team is catching that same kind of intensity, that same kind of belief we had that year," Campbell said. "I think if we get to the playoffs, you'll see a lot of that same kind of magic."
But what if the chips don't fall right for the Cardinals and they miss the playoffs despite their recent stellar play?
"If that was to happen, it would hurt," he said. "But I can hang my hat on 11-5. If we go 11-5, we did our part and it just wasn't in the cards for us.
"But if we do get in, you better watch out."