Arizona Cardinals 2020 Season Preview and Prediction
The Cardinals were up and down last season in Year 1 of the Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury era. However, the team had a great off-season, and even playing in the killer NFC West hopes are high in the desert.
Odds to win NFC West: +525
Odds to win NFC: +1700
Odds to win Super Bowl: +4000
Key Additions: The biggest addition was star WR DeAndre Hopkins, who was brought in with a trade with the Houston Texans. The Cardinals nabbed versatile LB Isaiah Simmons with the eighth pick in the draft.
The team also bolstered the defense bringing in the LB duo of De’Vondre Campbell and Devon Kennard and DT Jordan Phillips, who had a career-high 9.5 sacks last season.
Key Losses: The Cardinals lost David Johnson, as he was in the trade for Hopkins, but Arizona came out the big winner in that deal. WR Damiere Byrd was buried on the depth chart and is now with the Patriots.
There are a lot of new faces in Arizona but the main one is back in second-year QB Murray. He was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season and now has a killer #1 WR in Hopkins, who has averaged 1,300 receiving yards in the last six years.
Murray passed for 3,722 yards with 20 TD and 12 INT last season and also rushed for 544 yards. He showed flashes of brilliance but was also wildly inconsistent. He had five games where he passed for over 300 yards while having six passing for less than 200 yards.
On top of that, he had eight games with at least two TD while having six games with none. He now has Hopkins to go along with ageless Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk giving the Cardinals a legit WR corps.
In the off-season, the Cardinals slapped the franchise tag on RB Kenyon Drake, who rushed for 817 yards with 8 TD last season. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and rushed for 643 yards for Arizona after coming over in a mid-season trade from the Dolphins.
He will be the lead back with Chase Edmonds (303 rushing yards last season) and 7th round draft pick Eno Benjamin backing him up.
The defense in Arizona gave up the most points in the league last season and ranked second to last in the league defending the pass even with Chandler Jones ranking second in the league with 19 sacks.
Jones and Phillips will team up for a killer pass rush duo and rookie Simmons can help all over the field. Simmons can also play safety and Arizona needs him to bottle up tight-ends, who torched the team for 16 TD last season.
Simmons fell to Arizona with the eighth pick and he has a ton of upside. However, the secondary still has some big issues after being less than stellar last season.
The Cardinals have to get off to a good start and they can do that looking at their schedule. After a tough opening game on the road to face the defending NFC champion 49ers, Arizona’s next four games come against teams that combined for 18 wins last season.
Prediction: The Cardinals are trending in the right direction, but can they make the playoffs? It is not out of the realm of possibility, but a lot depends on Murry.
I think he will have a good season and Hopkins will as well. The defense will be better than last season, but it will not be enough. I see the team being around .500 playing in the tough NFC West and Arizona will not make the playoffs.