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Arizona Cardinals Predictions

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The Arizona Cardinals were the talk of the NFL after opening the season 4-0 with wins over the Seahawks, Patriots (at New England), Eagles and Dolphins, but things quickly took a turn for the worse. Arizona would follow up that impressive start with nine straight losses before finally getting back in the win column with a 38-10 win over the Lions in Week 15. When it was all said and done, the Cardinals finished up last in the NFC West with an overall record of 5-11.

As bad as it ended up being in Arizona in 2012, it’s worth noting that the Cardinals were competitive in all but a couple games. That was a credit to their defense and special teams, as the offense was a complete disaster. They got absolutely nothing out of the quarterback position. Part of if was a direct result of a poor offensive line that allowed a league-high 58 sacks and the other was a lack of talent.

Last Season
NFC West
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
4th
5-11
7-8-1
3-5
4-3-1
7-9
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
32nd
12th
-1
15.6
22.3
2013 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
G Jonathan Cooper, ILB Kevin Minter, S Tyrann Mathieu, DE/OLB Alex Okafor, G Earl Watford, RB Stepfan Taylor, WR Ryan Swope, RB Andre Ellington.
Additions
QB Carson Palmer, QB Drew Stanton, RB Rashard Mendenhall, G Chilo Rachal, DE Frostee Rucker, DE Matt Shaughnessy, DE/OLB QUentin Groves, ILB Karlos Dansby, ILB Jasper Brinkley, CB Antoine Cason, CB Javier Arenas, CB Jerraud Powers, S Yeremiah Bell.
Losses
QB Kevin Kolb, QB John Skelton, QB Brian Hoyer, RB Chris Wells, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, FB Anthony Sherman, WR Early Doucet, G Adam Snyder, DE/DT Nick Eason, ILB Paris Lenon, ILB Stewart Bradley, CB Greg Toler, CB William Gay, CB Michael Adams, S Adrian Wilson, S Kerry Rhodes, S James Sanders.
Key Numbers for 2013
Draft Grade
Preseason Power Ranking
Strength of Schedule
B
26th
3.67
7th
Head Coach Bruce Arians
*Records for regular season only.
Overall
ATS
Home
Home ATS
Road
Road ATS
9-3
8-4
5-0
4-1
4-3
4-3
Off of a Bye
Off of a Bye ATS
Off of a Loss
Off of a Loss ATS
1-0
1-0
4-0
4-0
Schedule
2013 Arizona Cardinals Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/8 @ Rams
+4.5
0.33
9/15 Lions
+2.5
0.45
9/22 @ Saints
+7.5
0.22
9/29 @ Bucs
+4.5
0.33
10/6 Panthers
+1.5
0.47
10/13 @ 49ers
+10
0.16
10/17 Seahawks
+6
0.29
10/27 Falcons
+4
0.34
Week 9 BYE
11/10 Texans
+3
0.41
11/17 @ Jaguars
PK
0.50
11/24 Colts
PK
0.50
12/1 @ Eagles
+4
0.34
12/8 Rams
PK
0.50
12/15 @ Titans
+1
0.49
12/22 @ Seahawks
+8.5
0.20
12/29 49ers
+6.5
0.28
Estimated Wins: 5.81

Becoming relative in the NFC West won’t be easy for the Cardinals, as they have been dealt what appears to be a brutal schedule in 2013. What’s surprising is that Arizona isn’t favored in a single game all season.

They kick things off with three of their first four on the road. While I have a hard time seeing them get a win at New Orleans in Week 3, they figure to be competitive at home against the Lions and in both road games at St Louis and Tampa Bay. If Arizona is going to make some noise, this is a stretch of games where they need to play well. The rest of the schedule is as hard as they come.

Arizona will have a chance to prove to everyone that they aren’t going to be a pushover during the middle portion of the schedule. From Week 5 to Week 12, the Cardinals will play five of seven at home against legit playoff contenders in the Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons, Texans and Colts. If you are still wondering why Arizona isn’t favored in a single game, it comes down to what is arguably the toughest home schedule of any team in the league.

What hurts the Cardinals is that their four most winnable games – Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Tennessee – all come on the road. Unless this team can pull off some major upsets at Phoenix Stadium, it’s going to be extremely difficult to improve on last year’s five-wins.

Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the NFC
to Win Super Bowl XLVIII
5.5
66 to 1
125 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Predictions

While the schedule is stacked against the Cardinals making any sort of progress, this team comes into the 2013 season with the belief that they are going to show everyone that the NFC West isn’t a tw0-team race between the 49ers and Seahawks. There’s certainly a new sense of excitement surrounding new head coach Bruce Arians, who won Coach of the Year honors for what he was able to do filling in for Chuck Pagano at Indianapolis last season.

Arians, who will also serve as the team’s offensive coordinator, strongly believes that the addition of veteran quarterback Carson Palmer will result in big time improvements on the offensive side of the ball. It’s the first time since Kurt Warner took this team to the Super Bowl in 2008 that they have a quarterback who can get the ball to Pro Bowl wide out Larry Fitzgerald on a consistent basis. Fitzgerald isn’t the only wide out who is ecstatic about bringing in Palmer.  Andre Robers, Malcolm Floyd and rookie Ryan Swope all figure to benefit from the new acquisition.

The Cardinals also figure to be a lot stronger in the running game and in pass protection. Left tackle Levi Brown is fully healed from a biceps injury that cost him all of last season, and they added in a future start at left guard in Jonathan Cooper. Add in second-year tackle Bobby Massie, who played very well given the circumstances as a rookie and guard Daryn Colledge and center Lyle Sendlien, and you can see why Arizona should in fact be much stronger up front. Whether or not the running game is a reliable option will come down to what they get out of free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall and youngster Ryan Williams.

If the offense can simply take better care of the football and put together some decent drives, Arizona could be a team to watch out for given how strong they are on defense and special teams. The Cardinals have talent littered all over the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end Calais Cambell and tackle Darnell Dockett are a force up front. They also have one of the elite corners in the game in Patrick Peterson and could have landed the steal of the draft in LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, who could play opposite Peterson or at free safety. The only concern comes at linebacker, where the Cardinals have question marks at both outside linebacker spots and will be without their star inside linebacker Daryl Washington for the first four games (suspended).

Don’t let the fact that Arizona isn’t favored in any of their games fool you into thinking this team is going to finish 0-16. While I do feel like they are still the worst team in their own division, that’s a bit misleading. San Francisco and Seattle are both legit Super Bowl contenders, and the Rams are a team on the rise. As much as they don’t want to admit it, this is a rebuilding season for the Cardinals. With that said, they should be a more competitive team than the one that took the field in 2012 and could end up being a very profitable bet against the spread.

Projections
NFC West Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
4th
1-5
6-9
Over 5.5
Cardinals Resources
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About the Author: Jimmy Boyd is known for his consistency. He's a proven winner in college and pro football, college and pro basketball and pro baseball. He finished as the No. 1 ranked MLB handicapper in 2007 by earning $1,000/game bettors $50,050. He also finished as the No. 1 ranked basketball handicapper in the 2008-09 season, profiting $1,000/game bettors 38,530. His basketball plays have banked $1,000/game bettors nearly $80,000 the last five years. Check out Jimmy's premium picks for tonight!
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