2015 threw up a big shock as the sub-par Denver Broncos marched to Super Bowl victory despite having almost no offense against the 15-1 Carolina Panthers.
2016 could see the return of the Vince Lombardi trophy to the NFC after two years of being claimed by AFC rivals and there is one team primed for a big Super Bowl run.
Ready to take off
The Arizona Cardinals have arguably the most talented roster in the NFL.
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They have everything you need in a team to win a championship; a franchise quarterback, a disruptive pass rusher, talented running backs, an elite wide receiver and an outstanding secondary.
All this team was lacking last season was a dominant pass rusher and they got one this off-season after trading with the New England Patriots for Chandler Jones.
He will make their defense elite this year and they have at least 4 pro bowler's on that side of the ball.
Tyrann Mathieu might be the best safety in football and Patrick Peterson is certainly amongst the top 5 corner's in the game.
The addition of Robert Nkemdiche in the draft bolsters the defensive line even further and the first round selection could prove a steal if he sorts out his off the field issues.
Arizona have play-makers all over the field on offense too, led by Carson Palmer at quarterback and the evergreen Larry Fitzgerald, no offense had more yards per play last season and there is no reason to suggest they will be slowing down in 2016.
Runningback David Johnson stood up and stated his claim to the starting role, but they also have Bruce Ellington and Chris Johnson, a formidable trio offering three totally different options.
Bruce Arians is one of the smartest and more tactically astute coaches in the NFL and this group has a very realistic shot at winning a Super Bowl this year if Palmer is able to stay healthy.
Arizona lost in the NFC Championship game last year and the whole roster will be hungry to reach the big time while they are still in their prime as a group.
Whilst the defensive stars are largely younger guys with big futures, the core of the offense is ageing with Palmer being 36 and Fitzgerald 32 both are past their best and will not have many more seasons of good football in them.
It is ever more challenging to find a franchise quarterback in todays NFL and the Cardinals will be aware that their window to win with Palmer is not a large one.
If the former number one pick out of USC stays healthy, he possibly has two or three good years left and that leaves Arizona in a win now mode.
That can be dangerous as hopes are often loftier than they should be, just ask the Colts of last season.
The difference between this team and the Indianapolis team that was touted for a championship appearance in 2015 is the defense; it is younger and much more talented and as we saw with the current Super Bowl champion Broncos, defense still wins championships.
Having said that, a long term injury to Palmer, like the injury to Andrew Luck that derailed the Colts last year, would be catastrophic and end the Cardinals hopes of winning it all on the spot.
Arians will know all of this and more, he is possibly the best coach not named Bill Belichick in the league and will have this super talented group ready for a long season in which they could achieve truly exceptional things.
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