Should we expect the unexpected this year in the NFC West?
It's a fait accompli, right? It's Daniel Day-Lewis winning the Oscar for Lincoln. It's me eating a peanut butter cup that's been in the freezer. How can it not happen?
Well don't go throwing rocks at Bruce Arians. The new Cardinals coach raised a couple of eyebrows and questioned conventional wisdom when he said Thursday "I like where we're at...(long pause)...I don't see the dominance that everybody else talks about. You know, one of those teams maybe. But it's still got to be played on Sunday."
I focused on the (long pause) because it seemed like Arians was contemplating the ramifications of saying such a thing; almost like he was asking himself "do I really want this thought bubble to be out there?" Ultimately he did and I'm glad he did.
Because I agree with him. Mostly.
Full disclosure: When I make my NFL picks in a couple of weeks, I'm going to predict that the Niners and Seahawks are both going to make the playoffs and that the Cardinals won't. That's the easy, safe play. So, there's that.
But I think what Arians was trying to say -- and what I wholeheartedly endorse -- is that this is an expect-the-unexpected kind of a league. Happens every year. In fact it's happened ten straight years.
Ten straight years a team has gone worst to first. Expect the unexpected.
In this case, the expected is that San Francisco and Seattle waltz into the playoffs, and probably one of them will. But both? Maybe that's not such a sure thing in an expect-the-unexpected league. Or maybe it's just a little dose of rah-rah designed to bolster both a fan base and a locker room.
But if it does happen, the Cardinals, by acquiring Carson Palmer and Eric Winston and John Abraham are prepared should the unexpected come their way.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo