With Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury leading the charge in Arizona, the Cardinals have a chance to surprise many pundits in 2020.
Cardinals finish 12-4. Realistically with quarterback Kyler Murray entering his second NFL season, coming off Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019, this team can fight for a wild card spot.
To finish 12-4 though they would need to sweep the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. It’s obviously a tall order, but we’re talking best-case. They also need to stay healthy. The defense also needs to stop opposing offenses. They finished 5-10-1 last season but could have finished 10-6 had the defense done it’s part.
Cardinals finish 6-10. There really should be no way this team finishes as good or worse than last season. If they finish 6-10 that will mean they continued to fail to convert field goals into touchdowns. It will mean the defense still can’t stop a soul and that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has once again failed in his job.
Biggest offseason move
Despite the defense needing to biggest improvements it may have very well been the offense that got the biggest boost. With the acquisition of receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals have a clear cut number one receiver with Larry Fitzgerald being 1A, as he returns for his 17th NFL season.
Hopkins will add explosiveness, reliability, and big-game experience to the relatively young team. He is the one that can help convert field goals into more touchdowns this season.
Draft pick who makes the big impact
There is no doubt the Cardinals hit a home run with their first-round pick in linebacker Isaiah Simmons. He will change the way the defense performs as a game-changer who helps the Cardinals stop more offenses.
Simmons does have versatility and can play around at different spots, however the Cardinals have maintained he will stick at linebacker. Still, we could see Simmons being placed in different spots on the field based on the situation. He should compete for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
No matter how you slice it, the Cardinals will be improved on both sides of the ball. They likely fall between their best and worst-case scenarios. Going 12-4 might win them the NFC West but realistically if they can finish 9-7, they’ll be in the thick of the wild card race.
Some people are choosing the Cardinals to be the surprise team in 2020. They turned heads in 2019 and if not for their defense may have won several more games. This season, they will win games they would have lost last season.
They are probably going to struggle at times like last season but they also may be able to dig themselves out quicker during those struggles. They will learn how to win more consistently. They have legitimate stars on both sides with Hopkins, Murray, Chandler Jones and will also get cornerback Patrick Peterson for a full season, something they didn’t have in 2019.
One thing for sure, they will be a lot of fun to watch. They may just add a few more believers along the way.