Predicting The Arizona Cardinals Final 2019 Record
By: James Bassil
The Arizona Cardinals are in an interesting spot, sitting at 2-3-1 after taking down the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons. Granted, they’ve managed victories against two of the worst defensive teams in the league, and by the skin of their teeth in both cases. But NFL wins are hard to come by, regardless of the opponent. So, how does this newfound optimism bode for the rest of the Cardinals season? I’ll predict the remainder of the Cardinals schedule.
Week 7: Cardinals @ Giants
Analysis: Next week the Cardinals travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants. They’ll be taking on fellow rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Other former Cardinals on the Giants side include Antoine Bethea, Markus Golden, Olsen Pierre, and Kareem Martin. Both teams are rebuilding with rookie quarterbacks that have shown promise, but whose defenses have been vulnerable. The key difference? Patrick Peterson will be playing his first game back with the Cardinals this season. The All-Pro cornerback will bring an edge to a secondary that has been understandably vulnerable in his and Robert Alford’s absences. Victory will be hard to come by, but I’ll give the slight edge to Arizona.
Prediction: Cardinals W 34-31
Week 8: Cardinals @ Saints
Analysis: The New Orleans Saints have looked fantastic once again this year, even without star quarterback Drew Brees. Backup Teddy Bridgewater has guided the team to a flawless record as the starter in Brees’ absence, restoring faith in a Saints fandom that felt lost following the injury. It’s difficult to envision a win here, as the Cardinals are simply overmatched. Whether Brees returns or not, this one doesn’t seem in Arizona’s favor.
Prediction: Cardinals L 33-21
Week 9: Cardinals vs. 49ers
Analysis: The Cardinals haven’t lost to the 49ers once in 4 years. That being said, the Niners look like a much improved team, with their defense dominating through five undefeated games and Kyle Shanahan unleashing a dominant run game on opponents. There are question marks around Jimmy Garoppolo, as he has proven he isn’t quite the successor to Tom Brady that some expected him to be. Still, he hasn’t started enough games to provide a clear picture of who he is as a quarterback. That being said, coming off a short week, in a divisional game, I’ll take the Cardinals at home in an upset.
Prediction: Cardinals W 16-10
Week 10: Cardinals @ Buccaneers
Analysis: This is another game that will feature some familiar faces. In fact, the 2019 Buccaneers look eerily similar to the Cardinals of Bruce Arians’ early tenure in Arizona. The beloved former coach will be looking to stick it to his old team in his new home, along with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. If Cardinals fans remember, Arians led the Cardinals to an underdog victory in dominant fashion against his former Indianapolis Colts in 2013. I envision he will do the same here, as the Cardinals do what inexperienced teams often do: follow up a big upset with a dud.
Prediction: Cardinals L 34-17
Week 11: Cardinals @ 49ers
Analysis: The Cardinals will come out swinging following an embarrassing loss in Tampa, but the 49ers will be up to the challenge this time around. Although rookies Kingsbury and Kyler will prove their worth by adjusting after a blowout, the 49ers are simply too good a team to get swept this year. They’ll pull out a home victory in overtime.
Prediction: Cardinals L 24-21 (OT)
Week 12: Bye week
Week 13: Cardinals vs. Rams
Analysis: Arizona will be hungry coming off a two game skid and a bye week. They’ll catch their divisional foe off guard by building a big lead that the Rams can’t quite claw back from. The Rams are a very good team, but have proven to be more vulnerable than in years past. Playing at home and coming off a long break, Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury pulls out the victory against his friend Sean McVay.
Prediction: Cardinals W 38-34
Week 14: Cardinals vs. Steelers
Analysis: The Cardinals will battle a sneaky good Steelers team, who will more than likely have young quarterback Mason Rudolph back from injury. Pittsburgh has proven they can be competitive, no matter who is under center. Despite this, I believe Arizona will pull out another upset. I envision Kyler Murray showing off his clutch ability in a late game winning drive, despite a sloppy game on both sides.
Prediction: Cardinals W 16-13
Week 15: Cardinals vs. Browns
Analysis: The Cardinals will put the NFL world on notice, stealing 3 upset victories in a row coming off their bye week. By this point in the season, Kyler Murray and his offense will be at its most comfortable, and its most dangerous. Murray will outduel fellow Oklahoma Heisman winner Baker Mayfield and a Cleveland Browns team that has looked inconsistent and, at times, flustered.
Prediction: Cardinals W 24-20
Week 16: Cardinals @ Seahawks
Analysis: Ah, road games in Seattle. Cardinals fans have some great memories watching their team steal games in one of the league’s most hostile environments. Kyler Murray will be at his most confident, and will have long since justified his status as a No. 1 pick. But Russell Wilson and the Seahawks sneak away with the victory, reminding Kyler that he’s got some catching up to do before he’s in his class.
Prediction: Cardinals L 35-31
Week 17: Cardinals @ Rams
Analysis: Well what do you know, that final record looks eerily similar. Heisman winner, Baker Mayfield and his Browns finished their season with the exact same record last year, tie and all. That isn’t the only similarity I envision in this game. Much Iike the Ravens in last year’s week 17 battle, I believe the Rams will be fighting for playoff seeding. Seattle will have locked up the division and maybe the NFC’s 1 seed already. The Rams will prove why they are the defending NFC champions, finding a way to win late. But Arizona’s season will end with a mixture of defeat and optimism.
Prediction: Cardinals L 31-28
Final Record: 7-8-1