This article is part of our Team Previews series.STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Cardinals shocked everyone but perhaps themselves by emerging victorious in seven of their final nine games en route to a 10-6 record in 2013. As a resident of the NFC West, though, a postseason berth was blocked by eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle (13-3) and San Francisco (12-4), while New Orleans (11-5) nabbed the final wild-card spot. The regular season itself included a complete overhaul of the offense under the direction of first-year coach Bruce Arians, whose schemes helped elevate 2012's basement-dwelling attack to 12th in the league. Subsequently, with a semblance of support on the other side, a playmaking defense held the opposition to 20.2 points on a league-best 84.4 yards rushing per contest. In total, Arizona improved its lot by five wins, good for the third-greatest leap behind Kansas City (nine) and Philadelphia (six).
Much of the credit for the turnaround can be credited to the offseason pickup of Carson Palmer
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