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Two SI.com panelists pick Arizona Cardinals to reach Super Bowl

Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates his sack of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Before the start of the NFL season, SI.com’s panel of experts was asked what two teams would reach Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.

None of the 12 participants picked the Arizona Cardinals to represent the NFC in this year’s game. But at midseason, things (and predictions) have changed.

In revisiting their preseason picks two panelists — Greg Bedard and Austin Murphy — picked Bruce Arians’ team to advance to SB50, taking on the New England Patriots in both instances.

Bedard:

In the NFC, I have a hard time not seeing the Cardinals in the Super Bowl, led by a healthy Carson Palmer. That would make for a heck of a matchup, and in the end, Palmer makes the mistakes that Brady doesn’t.

Bedard’s preseason pick, by the way, was Seattle against Baltimore.

His colleague, Murphy, went a step further, picking the Cards to reign supreme.

Unsettled by Green Bay’s pratfall in Denver—Aaron Rodgers was 14-of-22 for 77 yards!?—I’m unloading my Packers stock, but sticking with the NFC to win it all. Comeback Player of the Year Carson Palmer has been masterful and it sure helps to have a running game. But it’s Arizona’s defense—robust and physical up front, bristling with ballhawks in back—that will prevent the Patriots from repeating.

In all, Green Bay received the most midseason votes to win the NFC with eight, the Cardinals had two and the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles each got one.

In the AFC, New England got 10 of the 12 votes. Cincinnati and Denver each received one.

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