Carson Palmer on 3-4-1 Cardinals: 'I like where we are'

The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the NFL season's biggest surprises, plummeting from the NFC Championship Game to a losing record after nine weeks.

Carson Palmer's aggressive downfield aerial attack has been reduced to an afterthought, unable to withstand an injury-decimated offensive line.

While it's fair to wonder if this is just not the Cardinals' season, Palmer isn't dissuaded by the team's disappointing first half.

"I know people don't want to hear it," Palmer said, via Darren Urban of the team's official website, "but I like where we are."

Where do Arizona's playoff odds stand?

Football Outsiders gives the Cardinalsjust a 15.3 percent chance of reaching the postseason. There's reason to believe, however, that the season could take a turn for the better in the second half.

Point differential has always been a more accurate indicator of future won-loss record than current won-loss record. As ESPN's Bill Barnwell recently pointed out, the 13-3 Cardinals of 2015 were closer to an 11.9-win team while this year's point differential suggests a 10.2-win squad.

Even in a weak NFC wild-card field, Arizona will likely have to close out the season by winning at least six of eight games for a final record of 9-5-1.

A team built to win through the air will have to complete the transformation to one that relies upon the best all-around running back in football complementing a defense that ranks third in Football Outsiders' metrics.

If the Cardinals are going to pry open their Super Bowl window, though, Palmer is going to have to play better in a game manager role.

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