Cardinals recently favored to lead division

Not long ago, oddsmakers favored the Arizona Cardinals to lead the NFC West after Week 1 of the upcoming NFL season.

The idea is far from a long shot even now.

Arizona opened as a betting favorite over Seattle in Week 1 (the line has since shifted in the Seahawks' favor). Green Bay was, and still is, favored to beat San Francisco. Detroit was, and still is, favored to beat St. Louis.

The Cardinals do have real worries, especially on the offensive line following Levi Brown's season-ending triceps injury. But it's also easy to lose perspective in the absence of actual regular-season games.

Most of the Cardinals fans I know emerged from last season hoping the team would replace Brown. Has Brown suddenly become the key to Arizona's success? The answer might be "yes" for those who watched the team's most recent preseason game, but it's not like D.J. Young will start the opener at left tackle.

Beyond tackle, the rest of Arizona's roster remains largely intact from Week 17 last season, when the Cardinals defeated the Seahawks in overtime at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Offseason story lines tend to firm up in our minds as the months past. The Week 1 results don't always validate them. It's often best to keep an open mind.