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Attention New Orleans: Here come the Cardinals!

I hope Ken Whisenhunt and Larry Fitzgerald like boudin,
etoufee and red beans and rice. I assume Patrick Peterson
already does.

The Arizona Cardinals will be down on Bourbon Street at
this time next year playing for the Lombardi Trophy.
Yes, I’m calling my shot a year in advance.

I’m not a Cards homer, I’ve never done drugs and I haven’t
had one sip of alcohol since enjoying a glass of champagne
with my wife on New Years’ Eve. In other words, I’m not
impaired. My I.Q.’s normal and my boss didn’t tell me to
write a bold column to generate traffic to Truth be told, I can’t stand making
predictions. Some people I know assume that just because
I work in sports for a living — and have for the last
years — that I have all the answers. Ha!

Here’s the method to my apparent madness:
Whether Peyton Manning, Kevin Kolb or John Skelton is
under center, the Cards are in good shape as far as
offensive playmakers go. They still have arguably the best
wide receiver in the game, and I saw enough from Andre
Roberts late in the season to think he has the potential
to be, let’s just say, for kicks and
giggles, a Pierre Garcon. Speaking of Garcon, Colts
teammate Reggie Wayne
is a free agent and probably won’t be back, especially if
Manning’s gone. I’m also a big fan of Marques Colston who,
when healthy, is a nightmare for opposing corners. The
Saints know that too, so the Cards may have to spend more
than they want on him.

Arizona appears to be in good shape at running back with
Beanie Wells proving he can play (and play effectively)
through pain, plus Ryan Williams should be back from a
knee injury that robbed him of his rookie season.

The aforementioned LSU standout (Peterson) is already one
of the top return threats in the game, and also made
incredible strides at cornerback his rookie season. I also
find it hard to believe the team won’t bring Calais
Campbell back after what he did last season.

Yes, they need an offensive line – badly. I fully expect
them to address that in the draft and via free agency.
They could also still use a consistent corner opposite
P.P. I’m a big fan of their young linebackers, Daryl
Washington and Sam Acho.

The biggest question facing the Cards is the most
important one: Who’s under center? A healthy Manning
(assuming of course both parties want each other) all but
guarantees a playoff spot. Skelton continues to improve
(all though he could learn how to lead first half scoring
drives). Kolb is the biggest question mark – for some. I
think if Kolb stays healthy, he’s better than Alex Smith
and Tarvaris Jackson. He’s certainly better than Smith,
and we saw what he just did for a 49ers team that won with
defense and a “play-it-safe, don’t screw anything up”

The reason I really like the Cards to make a return trip
to the Super Bowl next year, they know this thing
(Whisenhunt) works, and they’re not a bunch of quitters.
They’re also confident after winning seven of nine to end
the season, and doing so in come from behind fashion. They
respond well to pressure and should only get better, since
they’ll actually have an offseason to put things together.

Again, I’m not a Cardinals homer. And just to prove it, I
fully expect them to lose to my hometown Texans in the
Super Bowl.