With Kyler Murray, the Arizona Cardinals are alive for the 2020 postseason

The NFC West just became a bit more interesting .

Tthe NFC West might be the most representative division when it comes time for the postseason. And while the Arizona Cardinals might be a year away from stepping into the Lombardi conversation, with Kyler Murray under center, they’re certainly in the mix for the playoffs.

Murray was far from perfect in the team’s 38-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, but when he was called upon, he made the most of his moments. Going 9-of-24 with 188 yards and two touchdowns, it all came down to the capitalizing on big plays.

In the second quarter, Murray connected with Christian Kirk for a six-yard touchdown after trusting the run game to grab 27 of the 54 yards. Two drives later, the former No. 1 pick needed one play to connect with the former Texas A&M slot target for an 80-yard touchdown to take a 21-0 lead.

Let’s not count Kyler Murray and the Cardinals out just yet

Murray was back in his element just 44 miles from where he set plenty of Texas high school records at Allen High School. The Lone Star showdown between two former high-school heroes looked one-sided, with the good getting ugly on the bad mistakes made by Andy Dalton.

Even with nine completions, it was enough to put Arizona in line to pick up their fourth win on the year. Throw on another 74 yards on the ground and a touchdown and Murray looks to be the real deal out in the desert for the NFC West franchise. In each game, the former Oklahoma product has finished with 130 yards through the air, 29 on the ground and scoring at least one touchdown via arm or legs.

The Cardinals’ offensive line has immensely improved from Kyler Murray’s rookie year to Year 2. After allowing 50 sacks with a dual-threat quarterback, Kliff Kingsbury has designed the playbook to play in his feet’s favor. Through six games, only nine quarterback takedowns have occurred.

There’s also an improved defensive scheme in Kingsbury’s second season (though Dalton’s mechanics could make any unit look competent). Rising superstar Budda Baker continued to live up to his $59 million contract with a forced fumble, sack and interception. Meanwhile, second-year cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. picked up the first fumble recovery of his career.

Even without star pass rusher Chandler Jones, the Cardinals managed to cause four turnovers. Following each, they capitalized, scoring 24 points on their way to a win.

Between adequate running and quality development under center, there’s balance in the Cardinals’ offense. Arizona has rushed for at least 109 yards in all six games, with Murray and Kenyan Drake playing a 1-2 combination. On Monday night, Drake deserved the praise by torching the Cowboys’ front seven with 164 yards and two touchdowns.

With five more games against NFC West opponents, there’s a four-man race for the title. And if Arizona continues to playing at this level (with Murray’s completion rate higher), they could be soaring to a playoff spot come January.

It’s a shame — one team will likely be left out of the West while the league has to allow a team in from the East.

Divisions, right?

Next: 3 defensive coordinators Cowboys could hire if they fire Mike Nolan

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