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NFL.com’s Schein: In NFL’s Sweet 16, Cardinals are favorite in NFC West

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Let’s face it, at this time of year much of the sports world is tuned into the NCAA Tournament.

It’s March Madness, and whether your favorite team is still alive or your bracket is on life support, it’s difficult not to watch what is going on and be transfixed on every big-time moment.

Given that the first weekend of the tournament is now in the books and the “Sweet 16” is set, NFL.com’s Adam Schein set out to create the NFL’s Sweet 16.

In the piece, he went over each division’s favorite as well as its top contender to the team at the top, and for the NFC West, he has the Arizona Cardinals as the top dog with the Seattle Seahawks nipping at their heels.

I wrote it last week: The Cardinals’ deal for Chandler Jones was a Super Bowl-caliber transaction for the great Steve Keim. And Evan Mathis was a quality addition to the O-line, which lost Jonathan Cooper in the Jones trade. Arizona is my Super Bowl favorite in the NFC. This team is loaded with talent, can play any style and is supremely well-coached.

Like most of the football world, Schein was very impressed with what the Cardinals accomplished last week in adding Jones, a Pro Bowl pass rusher, and Mathis, a two-time Pro Bowl guard who just won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.

Adding those two to a roster that won 13 games last season and reached the NFC Championship Game seemingly improves the Cardinals’ chances of reaching those heights again, and besides that, there are plenty of reasons to believe another elite season is in store for the franchise.

As for the Seahawks, Schein writes that they are Arizona’s top challenger because their defense is still great and their QB/Coach combination of Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll knows how to win.

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