It’s been an offseason of transition for the Arizona Cardinals. Gone are head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer, replaced by former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and QB Sam Bradford. At least one of those is a real upgrade.
Still, the oddsmakers at BetDSI Sportsbook aren’t too excited about the Cardinals’ prospects and for a team that went 8-8 last season, a +/- of 5.5 is very intriguing. See for yourself.
Arizona Cardinals 2018-19 Regular Season Win Total
Over 5.5 (-110)
Under 5.5 (-120)
Arians was a good coach, but if there was a knock on him and the Cardinals in his tenure it was an unwillingness to plan for the team’s future at quarterback. Under him and general manager Steve Keim, Arizona basically pushed all their chips to the center of the table with Carson Palmer. More often than not, that table’s leg buckled and spilled the chips, cards and ashtrays everywhere.
Keim, with Wilks, didn’t have a choice as to what to do with that position this time with Palmer’s retirement. They signed Sam Bradford to a one-year deal and drafted Josh Rosen. While plenty of people are going to view Bradford as a placeholder here, I’m not too sure it’s going to work out that way.
Sam Bradford feels “really good right now” https://t.co/AQCVjRN3fL
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 13, 2018
If Bradford is healthy, he’ll be the best quarterback the Cardinals have had since Kurt Warner took snaps from center. His health is, and has always been, the issue with Bradford. He’s playing on a one-year prove-it deal and, if he proves it, Rosen may be sitting a while.
Bradford’s weapons are hit and miss. In the backfield, he has one of the best in the game in David Johnson. Hopefully he’ll be fully recovered and pick up where he left off in 2016. Larry Fitzgerald is finishing out a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, but doesn’t have a ton of help fro his other wideouts. J.J. Nelson is probably the next best guy, with second round pick Chirstian Kirk and free agent acquisition Brice Butler both expected to contribute immediately.
Wilks has some tools to utilize on defense, but he and Keim cut one of their best players, safety Tyrann Mathieu to save some cash. Apparently Wilks didn’t feel Mathieu fit his system or he could get the production he needed out of Antone Bethea or Budda Baker. Patrick Peterson is probably the best corner in the NFL and that means that free agent acquisition Brandon Williams will be seeing plenty of balls tossed his way.
Some interesting thoughts from #Cardinals coach Steve Wilks on why he has embraced practicing in 101-degree heat and how he’ll trick up players’ schedules with four early kickoffs on the road in 2018. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/vF6cn7O8Vl
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 13, 2018
The Cardinals have a September schedule that’s conducive to success. They open with the Washington Redskins at home, then travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams before consecutive home games against the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks. That looks like a 3-1 start to me. Looking at the rest of their schedule, there’s no doubt, barring a catastrophic Bradford injury, there are at least three more victories on that schedule.
I think this Cardinals team will be vying for a Wild Card spot by the end of the season. This one is an easy choice. Take the over.
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