NFC West at the halfway mark: Arizona Cardinals

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

The NFL is at the halfway point of the 2013 season. It's time to take a look around the NFC West, and we continue with the Arizona Cardinals. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

The NFL is officially into the second half of the schedule, and with the 49ers coming off their bye week, I wanted to take a look at the rest of the NFC West. I spoke with the other three NFC West blogs to get their thoughts on the current status of their team. We have our own impressions of the opposition, but it helps to get their perspective as well.

Yesterday, we discussed the now 8-1 Seattle Seahawks. Today, we take a look at the 4-4 Arizona Cardinals. They beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, following back-to-back losses at the 49ers, and at home against the Seahawks. The big storyline I see at this point is the mergence of running back Andre Ellington. The sixth round pick got his first start last week and rushed 15 times for 134 yards. In 43 total carries this season, he has 52 more rushing yards than Rashard Mendenhall has in 92 carries. He has to be the guy there at this point.

I spoke with Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds to get a few quick thoughts on the Cardinals. He provided a quick look at the good, the bad and looking ahead.

The Good: The Cards are 4-4! The defense looks every bit as good as last year and the offense, while not good by any means, looks much more promising than last year's disaster. Andre Ellington looks like he could be a star in the making. They have a rather soft stretch on their schedule, so 6-4 in two more weeks is not a crazy thought.

The Bad: Carson Palmer has thrown 14 picks. They are 0-3 in the division. The offense looks nothing like it should at this point. The offensive line is still an issue. The defense has given up over 30 points three times.

Looking ahead: Andre Ellington gets a larger role in the offense moving forward. They have Houston, Jacksonville, Philly, St. Louis and Tennessee coming up -- all very winnable games. The offense could be getting on track after rushing for 200 yards against the Falcons.

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