ESPN’s Clayton: No, the Arizona Cardinals are not the best team in the NFC

Dec 27, 2013, 5:38 PM | Updated: 5:38 pm
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LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL Insider

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said he believes his team is the best the NFC has to offer.

His team has won seven of its last eight games and is coming off a road win over the presumed best team in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks, so it may not be a totally unreasonable point of view.

However, according to ESPN NFL insider John Clayton, it’s incorrect.

“I don’t agree,” he told Doug and Wolf Friday morning. “But it’s one of the most improved teams, there’s no question about that, and they’re certainly trending well toward the end.

“But if you’re going to be one of the best teams, you make the playoffs, and at the moment, they’re probably going to be a tiebreaker short of making the playoffs.”

Clayton said he thinks the Cardinals have a good shot of beating the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, which would give them an 11-5 record along with a better mark than two NFC playoff teams and as many as three AFC postseason participants.

“There’s not that big of a gap,” Clayton said when it comes to the Cardinals and the NFC’s best, “but no, they’re not the best team in the NFC.”

Have the Cardinals been unlucky? Perhaps, but that’s the way it goes, and barring some help they won’t have a chance to really make good on Campbell’s claim. But that does not mean it has not been a good season, especially given the predictions many had for the team going into 2013.

“I didn’t think it was going to go this way this well, but I thought it was going to go well,” Clayton said of the team’s success in 2013. “Any time you put a 4,000-yard passer like Carson Palmer on a team that has a good defense and has talent on offense, I thought it was going to take it to eight or nine wins. Now the possibility of 11 wins, that I thought exceeded expectations.”

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