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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Cardinals underrated following 7-2 finish?

By Mike Sando

K.M. from Arizona thinks the Cardinals aren't getting enough credit for posting a 7-2 record over their final nine games.

"If you look at teams that won seven of their last nine, I'll bet those teams have been pretty good the next year," he wrote.

Mike Sando: Interesting thought. Teams that win frequently tend to be good, no question. But in comparing apples to apples, so to speak, we'll need to look at teams coming off seasons similar to the one Arizona posted in 2011.

The Cardinals went from 1-6 to 8-8, an unusual feat. I found six other teams fitting that profile since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. Two of those six teams posted a winning record the following season. They combined to go 45-44 one year later. That included the Washington Redskins' 8-1 record during the strike-shortened 1982 season.

Six teams isn't very many. The results can't tell us how the Cardinals will fare in 2012. But we can say finishing 7-2 or better following a 1-6 start doesn't necessarily lead to good things the following season. Some of those six teams started quickly the following year. Others did not.

"I don’t necessarily believe in momentum," Cardinals linebacker Paris Lenon said from training camp.