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NFC West Report Week 7: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals squandered multiple opportunities to gain ground in the NFC West, settling for a 6-6 tie. They face a Panthers team desperate for a win in Week 8.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals blew a prime opportunity to climb closer to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West, but both teams distanced themselves from the Rams and 49ers.

NFC West Standings through Week 7.

Week 7 result: 6-6 Tie vs the Seattle Seahawks

The Cardinals defense dominated the Seahawks for four quarters, but the offense blew multiple scoring opportunities that could have won the game. Two blown chances came in the second quarter, first when David Johnson failed to convert a 4th and 1 carry in the red zone, and later a field goal attempt blocked by Bobby Wagner. A third squandered opportunity came late in overtime when kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a chip-shot field goal attempt that would have ended the game.

Johnson was the key cog in the Cardinals offense, finishing with 41 touches and 171 yards from scrimmage. The rest of the Cardinals offense combined for 25 touches. All things considered, the Cardinals offense performed well against Seattle’s No. 1 defense in the NFL, but squandered scoring opportunities were their undoing. The Arizona defense thoroughly dominated Seattle, allowing only 130 total yards and 3 points through four quarters. The Week 16 rematch between these teams that could decide the NFC West is shaping up to be one hell of a game.

Next up: @ Carolina Panthers (1-5)

The Panthers have collapsed out of the gate this year, only nine months removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Their only win came against the hapless 49ers in Week 2. The Panthers are coming off a bye week, so it will be interesting to see if they've righted the ship in any way. The Cardinals enter the game with the NFL’s No. 2 overall defense, which should be an interesting matchup against a Panthers offense ranked 4th in yards and 5th in scoring. Carolina is better than their 1-5 record indicates, and have lost three games by a field goal or less. If their defense has improved even marginally, expect them to knock off some unsuspecting playoff contenders like the Arizona Cardinals.

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In the offseason the Cardinals traded Guard Jonathan Cooper (their first round pick in 2013) plus a 2016 second round draft pick to the New England Patriots for defensive end Chandler Jones. The trade has payed massive dividends for the Cardinals, as Jones is rated as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Jones has 5 sacks so far in 2016.

The tie did nothing for the Cardinals playoff odds. 37 percent of teams that open 3-3 have made the playoffs since 1995, and a tie in Week 7 did not help their postseason hopes. (For what it’s worth, no 1-6 team has made the postseason in that span - so officially stick a fork in the 49ers season).