When the season ended last year, I was really impressed with the Arizona Cardinals. They ended their season 10-6 only a win shy of making the playoffs and they did the near impossible. The Cardinals traveled to Seattle and beat the Seahawks on their field. That is a geat that no other team has been able to accomplish in the last two years. However, this offseason has been just brutal for the Cardinals.
They lost Dansby in free agency,Tyrann Mathieu is still recovering from his knee injury from last year, lost Daryl Washington for the year due to a suspension, lost Darnell Dockett to an ACL tear and just this week, John Abraham got a concussion and may call it a career. With all that in mind, it is extremely tough to say the Cardinals will have a shot for the Lombardi Trophy this February.
Last year, the Cardinals were the best team against the run, giving up only 84 yards per game. In the first game this year, they gave up 52 yards. It might seem that their better than last year but lets remember, it’s the first game of the year, and the Chargers were passing the ball more than they were running it. We can’t make it seem like Arizona is about to destroy the least rushing yards in a single season record (current record is 970 yards with the 2000 ravens defense which played like they were playing on rookie level in Madden).
Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer celebrates in the closing seconds of the game against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chargers 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This team is going to struggle due to the fact that they lost a lot of experience, leadership and most importantly, talent. This especially hurts considering the two top teams in their division and possibly in the NFL are top 5 in rushing yards last year (49ers and Seahawks). The Cardinals are going to have a tough time against them when they run the ball down their throat, and get gushed by them. Not to mention, these teams have a lot of talent on the offensive side, with mobile gunslingers, good speedy receivers and excellent running backs, it’s gonna be tough for the Cardinals to get a win against either of those teams. Heck, it could be tough for them NOT to get swept by these teams.
Another reason why the lost on defense hurts their playoff chances, just look at their schedule. They got Denver, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco and Seattle twice. 4 of these 5 teams were in the top 5 of rushing yards per game last year. Denver is an offensive powerhouse, they have the ability to run and also move the ball down the field through the air. Having a guy named Peyton Manning leading your offense doesn’t hurt. The Cards have their hands full against all these teams, especially for a team that only put 23.7 points per game and 346 yards per game.
However, as I was sort of referencing in the last paragraph, in order for the Cards to have a shot to get into the playoffs, the offense must be top tier this year. Carson Palmer must cut off turnovers which he did against San Diego, the offensive line must block for him and give Andre Ellington running room. The entire offense must look better than last year and Bruce Arians is the man to do it. He’s such a good offensive minded coach and he knows how to get the best out of players. He can get this offense rolling and if that does happen, maybe the NFC playoff race will be tighter than we think.
The Arizona Cardinals will travel to New York on Sunday to take on the New York Giants on September 14th at 1:00 p.m.
To see the full Cardinals schedule click here.
For all of the latest Arizona Cardinals news, stick with us at Heat Waved and check back daily to read more about your favorite Arizona teams.