For the first time since the Kurt Warner era in Arizona, the NFC West is looking very much like the Cardinals' division to lose. Their two-game lead in the standings makes that a confirmation of the obvious at face value, but up until Sunday, there were compelling reasons to think the Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers might overtake Arizona in the end. It's becoming increasingly difficult to see the Cardinals letting this one slip away. They're simply too consistent.
Beating the Brandon Weeden-led Dallas Cowboys in Week 9 is no reason to crown anyone, of course. The case for 7-1 Arizona winning the West and making a hard push for the No. 1 seed in the NFC rests on a much stronger and growing body of evidence. It's about the Cardinals and also about some of the challenges threatening both Seattle and San Francisco.
1. In a league in which truths are fleeting, the Cardinals' consistency makes them a relatively safe bet.
A look at some of the factors working in Arizona's favor:
• The record doesn't lie: Injuries on defense made it tough to bank on the Cardinals building upon their surprising 10-6 record last season. Now, their 17-7 record under Bruce Arians makes it tough to bet against them. They're one game better than the 49ers since Arians took over. They have lost back-to-back games just once under Arians, and under extreme circumstances (playing Seattle on a short week after visiting the 49ers). This is now one of the most consistent teams in the league -- not just this season, but over a 24-game span.