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Arizona Cardinals' John Brown, right, and Larry Fitzgerald celebrate after Brown's touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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ESPN’s Bowen: Cardinals have NFL’s fourth-scariest offense

Arizona Cardinals' John Brown, right, and Larry Fitzgerald celebrate after Brown's touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

According to stats, the Arizona Cardinals have the best offense in the NFL.

They have gained 280 more yards than the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are second in that category, and trail the Carolina Panthers by just four total points.

Arizona can beat you through the air, where they average 296.5 yards per game, as well as on the ground, where they tally 126.4 yards per matchup.

Arizona converts on third-down a league-best 47.2 percent of the time, which keeps drives alive.

They have at times appeared to be unstoppable, and their offense is a big reason as to why they are 12-2 and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

According to ESPN’s Matt Bowen, in an Insider piece, they are the fourth-scariest offense in the entire NFL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.

Bruce Arian’s (sic) system in Arizona has the best vertical passing game in the league. This offense will take shots over the top with quarterback Carson Palmer(4,277 yards, 32 TDs), and the Cardinals have a pretty legit group at wide receiver to haul in Palmer’s bombs. With Michael Floyd, John Brown and the lightning speed of rookie J.J. Nelson, the Cards can stretch the field and create quick scoring opportunities. Plus, with the route running of veteran Larry Fitzgerald, Palmer can dissect defenses underneath versus zone coverage.

If you want to play man coverage, you better have the personnel to match up to this group. And if you want to sit back in Cover 2 or Cover 3, Palmer can eat up the secondary by targeting soft windows in those zone shells.

But for as much as we talk about this passing game in Arizona, Arians isn’t afraid to run the football, control tempo and cater his call sheet to the power schemes. There is a lot of balance to this Cardinals offense. They can pound the rock — rookie David Johnson rushed for 187 and three touchdowns in Week 15 — and take shots over the top. That’s going to create issues for defensive coordinators. Pick the wrong look and it could be six points against Arizona.

Indeed, the Cardinals have a variety of weapons and ways in which they can attack a defense, and for the most part, the only thing that has held them back are careless turnovers and random struggles in the red zone.

That has not happened often enough to derail them, though, and as long as the team’s key offensive players can remain healthy, there’s little reason to believe they will be slowed much in the postseason.

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