TEMPE, Ariz. -- This isn’t the type of prediction Arizona Cardinals fans want to see.
If a player makes the Pro Bowl, that means the Cardinals didn’t make the Super Bowl. I can’t predict the future. I can only project who’ll make the Pro Bowl should the Cardinals not become the first host team to play in the game.
The Pro Bowl will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium a week before Super Bowl XLIX.
After eight games, here are the Cardinals I think are having Pro Bowl-caliber seasons:
Antonio Cromartie, CB -- With the exception of the Denver game, Cromartie has returned to his Pro Bowl form. He leads the NFL in percentage of passes caught against him for cornerbacks playing at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
Larry Foote, LB -- At 34, Foote is playing with the stamina of a linebacker 10 years younger. He may not be worthy of a starting role but having played every snap this season, Foote’s showing how valuable he is to one of the league's top defenses. That's worth a backup nod.
Justin Bethel, CB -- He blocked another kick on Sunday and he’s one of the most feared, if not the most feared, gunners in the game. He’s locked up a return trip at this point.
Chandler Catanzaro, K -- All the rookie kicker has done is stay perfect through eight games and set an NFL record in the process.
Potential Pro Bowls after strong second halves:
Tyrann Mathieu, S -- A big second half by the Honey Badger could lead to his first Pro Bowl nod. He had his first interception of the year at Dallas but he’s been playing better as of late with his knee brace on. A few more interceptions and some big plays could build a solid resume.
Carson Palmer, QB -- He’s on pace for 3,601 yards this season but if he can someway, somehow get to 4,000 again and Arizona finishes atop the NFC West, Palmer could have a good shot as a backup.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR -- If Fitzgerald can hit 1,000 yards -- which he’s on pace for -- with less targets and receptions than in 2013, he’s almost a lock. A few more touchdowns wouldn’t hurt.
Calais Campbell, DE -- Campbell would be a lock on this list had he not missed two games because of his knee injury. But if he returns to his pre-injury form and can up his sack numbers in the second half, he’ll have a good shot.
Andre Ellington, RB -- He may not be setting records like Dallas’ DeMarco Murray is, but Ellington is close to Pro Bowl levels. He needs to break 100 yards rushing a couple times in the second half of the season to earn the honor as a backup.
Patrick Peterson, CB -- A subpar first half puts Peterson’s three-year Pro Bowl run in jeopardy, but he claims he turned a corner in Dallas. If he can continue shutting down top-tier receivers, he’ll be back in the Pro Bowl.