Last year the Arizona Cardinals had a very nice 11-5 regular season, but then they were shocked in the playoffs, losing to a 7-8-1 Carolina team. This year Arizona looks very good again, on paper, but still Vegas is looking for them to have a mediocre year as their Win Total has been set at 8.5 with juice to the Over (-140). Vegas odds have the Cardinals listed at +460 to win the NFC West, +1800 to win the NFC Title and +3500 to win the Super Bowl. A season preview of the Cardinals along with their 2015 Schedule are below.
Last year the Arizona offense ranked 24th in scoring, at 19.4 ppg, while also ranking 24th in total yards (319.8 ypg), 14th in passing (238.0 ypg) and 31st in rushing (81.8 ypg). The Cardinal offense was much better last year with Carson Palmer on the field as they averaged 26 ppg in his 6 games he played, but just 15.5 ppg in the 10 games that he missed. It is imperative that they keep him healthy this year. Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas are his backups, but they never really showed they could move this offense. Carson has solid weapons to throw to. Larry Fitzgerald is still a sold receiver, but he had just 2 TDs last year. He also needs Palmer on the field. John Brown and Michael Floyd combined for 1537 yards receiving and 11 TDs last year and will also benefit from a healthy Palmer. The running game for this team has been non-existent the last few year and I feel it will be average at best this year. Andre Ellington played with a hurt foot last year and did miss the last 4 games, but when healthy he does have the ability to put up some decent numbers. David Johnson was taken in the 3rd round and should add some solid depth. The OL got a big boost when they signed OG Mike Iupati, who is a high quality run-blocker. He will play along the side of Jared Veldheer, giving this team a very strong left side of the line. The rest of the line is rather average, but they are looking for big things from 1st round pick DJ Humphries.
Defensively the Cardinals ranked 5th in points allowed (18.7 ppg), 24th in yards allowed (368.2 ypg), 29th vs the pass (259.5 ypg) and 13th vs the run (108.7 ypg). The offense struggled without Palmer last year, so it really was the defense that got them in the playoffs, but just how good was the defense. This team allowed a ton of yards last year, but very few points came of it as they were a turnover making machine. The DL is led by Calais Campbell, who is coming off his 6th year in a row with at lest 6 sacks, while Frostee Rucker had a solid year with 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Corey Peters was added to take the place of Dan Williams, while Corey Reddings was signed to give this team good depth. The LB corps looks to be a very average group, although Alex Okafor did lead the team in sacks with 8. Markus Golden was selected in the second round and could start right away, while Sean Weatherspoon was signed away from Atlanta to start on the right side. Outside backer LaMarr Woodley was brought in for depth. The secondary had many issues last year, but a lot of their issues were because of injuries. They should be healthier this year, ut still they need players like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu to display the kind of skills that they are capable of.
The Cardinals had a very good year during the regular season, but their offense really had a no-show in the playoff game vs Carolina, in which they had just 78 yards of total offense. The offense will be much better this year, but only if Palmer stays on the field. He is the key to making this offense go, as they just don't have anyone behind him that can put points on the board. The Cards could also use more production from Ellington, who had a solid rookie year, but took a step back last year thanks to a nagging foot injury. The defense din't allow many points, but they did allow a lot of yards and that may catch up to them here. They created a lot of turnovers last year and usually a team will regress the next year. This is a decent defense, but not a great one. The Cardinals are a good team and they will make a push for a playoff spot, but they just got too many breaks last year and that doesn't usually happen 2 years in a row. I see them taking a step back this year and winning at most 9 games.
Info Gathered From Pro Football Weekly & Athlon Sports
2015 Arizona Cardinals Schedule
Sept. 13 New Orleans Saints, 4:05
Sept. 20 at Chicago Bears, 1
Sept. 27 San Francisco 49ers, 4:05
Oct. 4 St. Louis Rams, 4:25
Oct. 11 at Detroit Lions, 4:05
Oct. 18 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1
Oct. 26 Baltimore Ravens (Mon), 8:30
Nov. 1 at Cleveland Browns, 1
Nov. 8 BYE
Nov. 15 at Seattle Seahawks*, 8:30
Nov. 22 Cincinnati Bengals, 4:05
Nov. 29 at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05
Dec. 6 at St. Louis Rams, 1
Dec. 10 Minnesota Vikings (Thu), 8:25
Dec. 20 at Philadelphia Eagles, 1
Dec. 27 Green Bay Packers, 4:25
Jan. 3 Seattle Seahawks, 4:25
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Arizona Cardinals: 2015 NFL Free Best Bet & Betting Odds
Out of all the teams in the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals are the team pro bettor Steve Fezzik feels the best about in the Pregame 2015 NFL Preview. The Cards are projected to win 8.5 games in the 2015-2016 NFL season, which Fezzik thinks is an easy benchmark to hit with the return of a quality quarterback like Carson Palmer, a strengthened offensive line, a solid RB like Andre Ellington, and some great coaching from Bruce Arians.