Arizona Cardinals: Ryan’s 2013 Season Predictions

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Arizona wasn’t very good last year, which is quite sad when they probably have the best wide reciever in the game today, Larry Fitzgerald. Poor quarterbacks and a awful offensive line didn’t help this team move down the field at all, but the Cardinals made some great moves in the offseason to fix that.

The Cardinals were able to get aged and vetern quarterback Carson Palmer. I’m a Palmer supporter and I was so happy when the Raiders got him but sadly things just didn’t quite work out there. Palmer can be a great quarterback and may be the quarterback this team needs, we could be looking at a great connection coming up this year for Palmer and Fitzgerald.

Not only did they get a new quarterback but the Cardinals also picked up guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round of the draft. A great addition for the offensive line. Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington add additional depth behind Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams. Alex Okafor is an intriguing prospect along the defensive line as well.

While they did address the offensive line with Cooper and Earl Watford, the Cardinals needed to add help at the tackle position as well. Levi Brown is coming back from a torn triceps and Nate Potter and Bobby Massie were inconsistent as rookies. Maybe they’re riding on high hopes for these two but I’m not sure they’ll be much more but bench warmers or playing for a different team down the road.

Cooper will probably have the best impact this year and down the road. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him enter the pro-bowl this year. He has great potential and he’ll be greatly needed for the years to come with this franchise.

The teams front office roster changes that took place not too long after their season ended are also going to have a big impact on this team this season. New general manager, Steve Keim, and coach, Bruce Arians may have bigger impacts than the new players this year. They’re both veterns of the game and great motivators.  Bruce Arians is a proven leader of men and he should be able to shape Carson Palmer into the quarterback this team needs.

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Of the 90 players on the roster, 48 are new. Spring cleaning, NFL style. That statistic doesn’t provide a complete picture because 26 players are rookies (nine draft picks, 17 free agents). That’s about the number that arrives each year. The Cardinals either cut or didn’t re-sign six players who started at least 10 games a year ago. Those six are, tackle D’Anthony Batiste, linebacker Paris Lenon, cornerback William Gay, safety Kerry Rhodes, safety Adrian Wilson and guard Adam Snyder. These players alone accounted for 21% of the team’s total starts.

I’m even more surprised by the cut of Chris “Beanie” Wells, a great player. He proved he could be great but I guess inconsistency was his downfall.

Overall, it appears moves by the Keim/Arians regime solved far more problems than they created, which can’t always be said of those in big offices.

Arians made himself a star coaching candidate for the way he handled filling in for Chuck Pagano last season with the Indianapolis Colts while also helping Andrew Luck to a solid rookie season. Arians’ nine wins as a sub made him the first interim coach to earn coach of the year honors. While Arians will lead the offense, he brought his former offensive line coach from Indianapolis and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harold Goodwin, to be his offensive coordinator. This is a great move and it’s always wise to bring someone you know and trust with you, I’d be more worried about this team on offense if Arians hadn’t brought Goodwin with him.

Todd Bowles was a respected secondary coach for 13 years in the NFL, but considering his disastrous run as the defensive coordinator last season for the Philadelphia Eagles has to make you question what the defense will look like.

Schedule Review: 7-9

At Rams: 0-1 L

It often takes Palmer quite a while to warm up to a new system. I predict he’ll be quite loose with the football against the Rams and it’ll put a lot of stress on the team resulting in a game that goes down hill fast.

vs Lions: 1-1 W

The Lions are the “dream team” the Eagles were a couple years ago. Yea so what they added a few big name players but the Lions have had good players but for some reason they just don’t click together. I expect the Cardinals to expose them and pull off win with a 14 point difference.

@ Saints: 1-2 L and @Bucs: 1-3 L

I don’t expect the Saints or Bucs to play like they did last year. The Saints will have their leader head coach back to push this team to success, I expect to see them in the playoffs this year. The Bucs were trying new things last year. With more experience under their new head coach this team looks to be great defensivly and getting better offensivly.

vs Panthers: 2-3 W

I expect the Panthers to be good this year as well and this should be a good close game but because the Cardinals are at home I’m giving them the edge to win this one.

@ 49ers: 2-4 L, vs Seahawks: 2-5 L, and vs Falcons: 2-6 L

The Cardinals get to play the big three of the NFC in a row and sadly two of them are in the same division as them so they’ll get the luxury of playing them again. Sadly these three teams have just too much talent for the new Cardinals and I expect them to lose all three of these games.

BYE

vs Texans: 3-6 W

The Texans were exposed last year, they were that team that made it to the playoffs but you didn’t expect them to move past the first round. They’re defense had holes despite having JJ Swatt and Schaub just can’t throw. The Texans will have one of their random bad games this time and lose by a TD.

@ Jags: 4-6 W

Luckily the Cardinals get some easy games in a row after playing the big three. The Jags still can’t seem to figure it out. They had a pretty bad draft this year and aren’t fixing any of the holes in their roster. The Cardinals come into this game and simply dominate their opponent.

vs Colts: 5-6 W

This isn’t a prediction of the fact that Arians coached them so he knows them. Chuck strong was a great show when it happened but the Colts haven’t reached their full potential and they’ll need to adjust to playing under Chuck again. Brett Favre jr, Andrew Luck, really needs to work on not throwing so many INT too.

@ Eagles 6-6 W

I haven’t figured the Eagles out yet and I don’t think Kelly has either. He may have this team in control by this point but I slightly doubt it. I give Kelly one bad year and then he’ll be something to worry about.

vs Rams: 7-6 W

It’s been a while since these two teams met but with the team now under control and Palmer in the swing of things the Cardinals will get their revenge with a early head start in this game.

@ Titans: 7-7 L

Win streaks are nice and all but there’s always that one team that ruins it, in this case it’ll be the random Tennessee Titans. With nothing left to lose the Titans will come out swinging to send the Cardinals spinning out of control.

@ Seahawks: 7-8 L and vs 49ers: 7-9 L

Sadly the Cardinals will end the season playing not only their rivals but possibly the two best teams in the NFL. They may end up being just flashes in the pan but with the rosters these two teams have I highly doubt it. The Cardinals take two losses and they’re out.

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