Sunny Skies in the Desert
It’s no secret 2020 has been a miserable year with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with racial strife embroiling the nation. But rather than dwell on the negative, let’s set our sights on calmer waters, namely the Arizona Cardinals and their prospects of bringing winning football back to the Grand Canyon State.
The Cardinals finished dead last in the NFC West last season with a 5-10-1 record but there is plenty of room for optimism this season. The NFL lines show that Arizona is no longer relegated to the basement when it comes to odds to win the Super Bowl. That distinction belongs to teams like Washington, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, and the Panthers on the bottom rung. The Cardinals are in the middle of the pack with odds of +5000 that sees them tied with the Titans, Chargers, Broncos, and Bears. The company they are keeping is not exactly high society but it’s a long way from where this moribund club was a few years ago.
The oddsmakers are showing odds to win the NFC West as follows: San Francisco (+105), Seattle (+260), LA Rams (+425), and in a not so distant fourth are the Cardinals at +600. Now to be clear, no one, not even the most optimistic Cardinals’ fan is predicting a Super Bowl appearance or a division title. However, there is very good reason to believe that betting Arizona to win more than 7 ½ games, the current win total at many of the best online sportsbooks, is a solid wager. If Kyler Murray can lead his troops to a .500 record this season it will be a big step in the right direction.
Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals veteran shutdown corner, is convinced this Arizona addition has what it takes, “The offseason has been great for us. The draft has been great for us,” he said. “We really hit all areas in this offseason to give not only the fans something exciting to look forward to but also putting us in the best opportunity to win. I definitely think this is a championship-caliber team from top to bottom.”
Peterson was also quick to sing the praises of General Manager Steve Keim regarding his offseason fleecing of the Titans, “The acquisition of DeAndre (Hopkins), that was huge for us. To add a top-two receiver to your roster, that just doesn’t happen. That just doesn’t fall in your lap. For that trade to be pulled off, I thought (it) was a great sign and a great start to the offseason.”
Cards’ Season Projections
Let’s take a look at Arizona’s season schedule as we add up the projected wins and losses in the 2020 NFL season.
1 Sunday, Sep 13 at San Francisco 4:25 PM ET FOX – Loss
2 Sunday, Sep 20 vs Washington 4:05 PM ET FOX -Win
3 Sunday, Sep 27 vs Detroit 4:25 PM ET FOX – Win
4 Sunday, Oct 4 at Carolina 1:00 PM ET FOX – Win
5 Sunday, Oct 11 at New York Jets 1:00 PM ET FOX -Win
6 Monday, Oct 19 at Dallas 8:15 PM ET ESPN – Loss
7 Sunday, Oct 25 vs Seattle 4:05 PM ET FOX – Win
8 BYE WEEK
9 Sunday, Nov 8 vs Miami 4:25 PM ET CBS – Win
10 Sunday, Nov 15 vs Buffalo 4:05 PM ET CBS – Win
11 Thursday, Nov 19 @ Seattle 8:20 PM ET FOX – Loss
12 Sunday, Nov 29 at New England 1:00 PM ET FOX – Loss
13 Sunday, Dec 6 vs Los Angeles Rams 4:05 PM ET FOX – Win
14 Sunday, Dec 13 at New York Giants 1:00 PM ET FOX -Loss
15 Sunday, Dec 20 vs Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET FOX – Loss
16 Sunday, Dec 27 vs San Francisco TBD – Loss
17 Sunday, Jan 3 at Los Angeles Rams 4:25 PM ET FOX – Win
Projected 2020 Season Win Total: 9-7
The Cards have the eighth toughest strength of schedule with their opponents posting a combined .518 winning percentage last season. But we can plainly see that the 49ers and Seahawks figure heavily into this equation because, of course, they are powerful divisional rivals that the Cardinals must play twice for a total of four games against a pair of lethal opponents. If Arizona can win at least one of the four, and we believe they can, they are poised for a 9-7 season and potential trip to the postseason! Stay tuned as we report on unfolding developments in the desert.