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Projecting the Cardinals' 2010 record

The first three NFC West game-by-game projections produced a few surprises.

The St. Louis Rams started 3-3. The Seattle Seahawks started 0-6. The San Francisco 49ers went 7-1 at home. And now, against probability, the Arizona Cardinals follow a five-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak to finish the season at 9-7, only one game off their pace with Kurt Warner a year ago.

Here's one prediction you can take to the bank: It's not going to play out that way. Unreliable variables influence seasons. Quarterbacks get hurt. Some teams hit stride unexpectedly. It's not who you play so much as when you play them, the saying goes.

What will the Cardinals get from quarterback Derek Anderson? Will Max Hall be starting by October? November? I've said all offseason it's a credit to the Cardinals if they can get to 8-8 or better this season. My game-by-game projection says they've got a chance, thanks to quite a few established veteran players, some proven coaching and some friendly matchups:

Week 1: win at Rams

Week 2: lose at Falcons

Week 3: win vs. Raiders

Week 4: lose at Chargers

Week 5: lose vs. Saints

Week 6: no game

Week 7: win at Seahawks

Week 8: win vs. Bucs

Week 9: lose at Vikings

Week 10: win vs. Seahawks

Week 11: win at Chiefs

Week 12: win vs. 49ers

Week 13: win vs. Rams

Week 14: win vs. Broncos

Week 15: lose at Panthers

Week 16: lose vs. Cowboys

Week 17: lose at 49ers

This projection would see the Cardinals taking a 9-6 record into San Francisco with the NFC West title on the line. What's your take (not that you needed prompting)?