The Arizona Cardinals have been overlooked all year. I’ve already discussed the massive void Tyrann Mathieu’s injury has created, but there’s another Arizona Cardinal who continues to fly under the radar.
Franchise quarterback Carson Palmer has been exceptional this season, yet his name isn’t even mentioned in the MVP discussion. Much of this has to do with Cam Newton and Tom Brady’s teams atop their respective conferences, but Palmer has a compelling case for MVP honors.
Guiding his Arizona squad to a 12-2 record, Palmer ranks first in the league in QBR (83.5), third in passing yards (4,277) and touchdown passes (32), and is leading the second highest scoring offense in the NFL (31.8 points per game).
Unlike Newton and Brady, Palmer has had the luxury of being surrounded by dynamic playmakers. The athletic prowess of guys like Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Michael Floyd, Chris Johnson and David Johnson has made Palmer’s accomplishments appear less impressive.
However, we witnessed last year how catastrophic a Carson Palmer injury is to this team. With Drew Stanton slated as the team’s back-up quarterback, a Palmer-less Cardinals squad nose dives from a 12-2 unit to a 4-8 team in a hurry.
As Brady and Newton attract all the headlines, Palmer will gladly keep doing what he’s doing – carving up defenses and putting his team in perfect position for the franchise’s first ever Lombardi Trophy.
Palmer won’t be coming away with the MVP award this season, but if he maintains his current level of play, he and his team will be hoisting a way cooler trophy at season’s end.