Rewind two seasons. The Arizona Cardinals entered 2016-17 off a 13-3 record that saw the team reach the NFC Championship Game. Carson Palmer had one of the best seasons of his career throwing for nearly 4700 yards to go along with a stellar 35:11 TD/INT ratio. Most importantly, he was under center for all 16 regular season matchups. David Johnson introduced himself to the NFL with nearly 1000 yards of combined offense and 12 combined touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd combined to haul in 226 receptions for over 3,000 yards and 22 TDs.
Fast forward two seasons. Carson Palmer has hung up his cleats. David Johnson returns from a knee injury that cost him the entirety of 2017-18. Larry Fitzgerald is the only remaining pass catcher of that fantastic trio. To top it off, Bruce Arians is no longer calling the shots in the desert. In other words, much has changed within the franchise since it got one win away from going to its first Super Bowl.
Taking over the reins in Phoenix will be Steven Wilks. The former defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers will no doubt change the culture immediately with the prior regime geared more towards the offensive side of the ball. Linemakers gave him and his staff the benefit of the doubt lining the Redbirds with a 6.5 game season win total, but the betting markets loathe AZ this season evidenced by its movement downward to 5.5 with heavy juice riding the over.
This is a team that won eight games a season ago and seven the year prior. While the loss of Palmer is significant, he was a shell of his former self for most of last season before the injury bug ended it early. Still, why upper management decided to throw all that money at Sam Bradford this past offseason is quite the headscratcher. Especially with the offensive line in flux. The unit allowed Cardinals QBs to get sacked 52 times last season! Bradford’s a china doll. If you can find a prop on Josh Rosen starts this season, hit the over! That is unless you think Arizona wants to rebuild with Mike Glennon leading the attack; not!
All the money hammering AZ’s win total under the number is no doubt looking at one of the toughest schedules based on 2018 win totals. There literally isn’t a break over the 17 week season. Week 1, 3, 711 and 14 will be toss-ups. Notice each comes in the comforts of U of Phoenix Stadium. If they manage to win all five of them, I don’t know where a fifth win comes from. Those that hit AZ’s win total at the open must be licking their chops! It’s been a long time since the Cardinals entered the season as the worst team in the NFC West on paper. That however is the reality entering 2018.
Having first been founded in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club in Chicago, the Cardinals are the oldest continuously run professional football franchise in the United States. After a mid-century stop in St. Louis, the team moved to the state of Arizona in 1988. In 2006, they moved to Glendale to play their home games at the state-of-the-art University of Phoenix Stadium.
Since the teams move to the University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona has earned three division titles, two NFC Championship Game appearances and its first-ever Super Bowl appearance. University of Phoenix Stadium has also given Arizona one of the NFL’s most distinct home field advantages.
Week 1: Redskins at Cardinals, Sunday, September 9, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 2: Cardinals at Rams, Sunday, September 16, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 3: Bears at RedskinsCardinals, Sunday, September 23, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Seahawks at Cardinals, Sunday, September 30, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Cardinals at 49ers, Sunday, October 7, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 6: Cardinals at Vikings, Sunday, October 14, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 7: Broncos at Cardinals, Thursday, October 18, 8:20 p.m. ET – FOX/NFL Network
Week 8: 49ers at Cardinals, Sunday, October 28, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 9: Bye Week
Week 10: Cardinals at Chiefs, Sunday, November 11, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 11: Raiders at Cardinals, Sunday, November 18, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 12: Cardinals at Chargers, Sunday, November 25, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Cardinals at Packers, Sunday, December 2, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Lions at Cardinals, Sunday, December 9, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 15: Cardinals at Falcons, Sunday, December 16, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 16: Rams at Cardinals, Sunday, December 23, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 17: Cardinals at Seahawks, Sunday, December 30, 4:25 p.m. ET - FOX
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