The time has come for the Arizona Cardinals to deliver on their promise. But will they take the expected step forward in 2022?
The Cardinals have taken steps forward during the Kyle Murray-Kliff Kingsbury era. They went from a 5-10-1 season (2019) to an 8-8-0 season (2020) and an 11-6-0 season last year, capped off by their first playoff appearance since the beginning of the promising partnership in 2019.
BetUS pegs Arizona as the third favorite to win the NFC West, just a smidgen behind the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. They’re also modestly priced to compete for the NFC Conference title and Super Bowl 57.
Read on for all you need to know about the Arizona Cardinals in this preseason series of NFL betting previews. We’ll check the latest NFL picks, stats, injury reports, and NFL odds before capping it all off with NFL predictions for your consideration.
Arizona Cardinals Odds
- To win NFC West +325
- To win NFC +1400
- To win Super Bowl LVII +2800
- To make Playoffs Y +115 /N -145
The Cardinals’ offense is spearheaded by dynamic quarterback Kyler Murray, one of the most prolific wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, tight end Zach Ertz, wide receiver A.J. Green, and running back James Connor.
Arizona finished eighth overall in offense last year with 373.6 yards per game. They had the 10th best passing game with 251.5 yards per game and the 10th best running game with 122.1 yards. They were also the 11th highest scoring team with 26.4 points per game.
The Cards traded for wide recover Marquis Brown to give Murray more options on offense and picked up tight end Stephen Anderson in free agency. With Hopkins serving a six-game suspension at the start of the season, these additions will give Murray new offensive weapons. They also bolstered the offense in the draft with tight end Trey McBride and running back Keaontay Ingram.
Player to Watch: QB Kyler Murray
J.J. Watt spearheads a defense that looks to be a tough nut to crack – on paper. Watt is the X-factor on the Cardinals’ defense, an All-Pro and veteran leader that can give opposing offenses something to think about. That is, assuming he remains healthy for the entire season.
While the Cards had some significant departures this offseason, namely losing defensive end Chandler Jones and defensive tackle Jordan Smith, among several others in free agency, they picked up cornerback Jeff Gladney and linebacker Nick Vigil.
They also drafted defensive end Cameron Thomas and defensive end Myjai Sanders. They also recruited cornerback Christian Matthew and linebacker Jesse Luketa to bolster the defense.
Player to Watch: J.J. Watt.
Cardinals Team Strength
Arguably, both the offense and the defense are good candidates for the team’s strength category. However, as Murray got his big payday after a drama-filled offseason negotiating his worth with the team, the buck stops at his feet.
The Cardinals didn’t pay Murray gazillions to sit on his laurels or be one-and-done in the playoffs. The pressure is on Murray and, in turn, the offense to rise to the occasion.
Cardinals Team Weakness
Since 2019, the team’s weakness was the inexperience of Murray and Kingsbury in the NFL. But as the pair enters their fourth season together, inexperience should no longer be an issue. Should the Cardinals falter again – as they did during their collapse late last season – it won’t take long for the finger-pointing to begin, and you can bet Kingsbury will be in its direct line.
The Cardinals have all the pieces in place to be a legitimate contender, so they should be. Frankly, for a team that went 11-5-1 last season, their NFL odds are very underwhelming, and the fact that they’re not even favored to make the playoffs right now is somewhat surprising.
This might be a prime example of the markets getting it wrong. The Cardinals should make the playoffs this year, if not challenge for the NFC West title.