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Arians knows Cardinals are close


The best team in the NFL resides in the NFC West. The second best team in the NFL resides in the NFC West.

And a strong argument can be made that the third best team in the NFL resides in the NFC West.

The Cardinals -- the only team to win a game in Seattle in 2012 or 2013 -- aren’t far behind the Seahawks and the 49ers, which puts the Cardinals ahead of the other 29 teams. Their second-year head coach knows how close the Cardinals are.

"[W]e’re so excited about getting back because we know how close we are,” Arians said Thursday, via the York (Pa.) Dispatch. “We played San Francisco to two games that were winnable and then split with Seattle and split with St. Louis, so we have a chance to win our division and we know we’re a pretty good football team.”

If the Cardinals win their division, they very well could win the conference and, in turn, the Lombardi Trophy. Indeed, only three years after the NFC West sent a sub-.500 team to the playoffs, the NFC West has become as strong as any division has been, perhaps since the AFL-NFL merger.

With more than $9 million in cap space generated by the restructuring of receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s contract, look for the Cardinals to go all in as they try to close the gap, dangling to potential free agents the opportunity to try to slay the current giants of pro football, who may be so busy battling with each other they don’t realize the Cardinals are catching up with them.