Last season, the Arizona Cardinals looked poised to the make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. However, despite a 5-2 start, the Cardinals missed the postseason with a record of 8-8. It was a disappointing finish for Kyler Murray, who had a standout No. 1 wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. Murray recorded 37 total touchdowns (11 rushing) and 12 interceptions, while Hopkins racked up 115 receptions for 1,407 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Arizona did not stay idle in the offseason as they signed former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. But they ended up losing linebacker Haason Reddick and cornerback Patrick Peterson in free agency. Can the Cardinals replace the losses of Reddick and Peterson this season? Or will it come back to haunt them in a tougher NFC West?
Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl 56 odds: +4000
If the Cardinals want to go to the Super Bowl, let alone win it, then they’ll need better coaching from head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury, who was labeled as an innovative offensive head coach out of Texas Tech has not brought that over to the desert. In his first two years in Arizona, the Cardinals have been ranked 13th and 16th in team offense. Along those same lines, they were ranked 13th in scoring offense last season (25.6 ppg) and 17th in passing offense (244.8 yards per game).
Heading into this season, there’s no excuse for why the Cardinals can’t be a top-10 scoring and passing offense, especially when you consider who they have. They got Murray at QB and then at WR, the Cardinals have Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, and Rondale Moore. Finally, at running back, they have James Conner and Chase Edmonds, which should be a solid 1-2 duo in the backfield. If Kingsbury cannot improve these numbers and get the Cards into the playoffs, then he could end up on the hot seat.
Defensively, the Cardinals’ front four is set with the likes of Chandler Jones and Watt coming off the edge and applying pressure. Adding Watt was a big boost as they did not re-sign LB Haason Reddick, who had 12.5 sacks last season. Arizona will need those two vets to come up big time this season, especially in a division that has Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo. Arizona will needs to figure out, who will be their second starting cornerback, playing opposite of Byron Murphy Jr. The Cardinals signed Malcolm Butler and Darqueze Dennard in free agency, and re-signed Robert Alford. None of those options strike fear into opponents, but can they be stop-gaps for this season? It’s a possibility. If someone can step up then that will only help the Cardinals’ chance of getting back into the playoffs and making some noise into February.
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