Everyone else has taken a turn it seems at previewing and predicting how the Arizona Cardinals will do. On the eve of the season opener at home against the Seattle Seahawks, it is now our turn. Some of the ROTB staff has come up with their thoughts as to what the Cardinals' record will be at the end of this season.
Hit the jump to read more:
Prediction -- 6-10: From what I have seen so far out of the Cardinals' offense, it doesn't look like they are in for a big season. Sure, the defense should be good, but with no offensive line and a below average quarterback under center, how is the team supposed to score? I just don't think it's in the cards for the Cards this season.
Prediction -- 9-7: The Arizona Cardinals have too much talent to truly be held down by the issues on the offensive line and are able to win enough games to be considered for a wild card spot in the playoffs. As shown in the final preseason game against the Denver Broncos, OC Mike Miller is able to create protection using the four TEs the Cardinals kept on the final 53 man roster. All four TEs end the year with higher reception numbers than last year as they become effective check down targets, and the RB corps is used to pound the football behind a line that finds itself better suited to run blocking than pass blocking. The Cardinals offense ends up more run than pass plays 57% run, 43% pass.
Prediction -- 7-9: I think our offense is going to surprise and the defense will play well, but Skelton will throw untimely interceptions to cost us a win.
There are a lot of very good pieces in place on this year's edition of the Arizona Cardinals. We have young studs and studs in the making all over our roster, but a couple of key spots will inevitably hold this team back. Despite how they may have looked in the preseason, I still believe in Ray Horton's defense 100%. Sam Acho and Patrick Peterson looked poised to each take the next step this season to becoming defensive beasts, and other proven performers (Adrian Wilson, Daryl Washington, CC, and DD) have shown no signs of slowing down.
On offense is where this team will struggle. If coach Whisenhunt can structure his game plan on offense around his strengths, then we could have a respectable offense. Pound the ball with Beanie Wells, and work in LSH and Williams to change pace. Fitzgerald and Floyd may be the best run blocking WR tandem in the league already. Inevitably though, we will need to throw the ball to stay in most games, and that's where we will in all likelihood struggle. Two big injuries have already decimated our infamous offensive line, and neither Skelton nor Kolb have proven themselves to be even an above average quarterback. We're much better than most pundits ranks us as, and will surprise a few teams, but ultimately this is a quarterback's league. Definitely not picking first overall as many have predicted.
I also have them at 9 - 7, and believe they will run the ball 60% of the time, behind a two TE set line.
I remember how the defense played a season ago with Kerry Rhodes out and less cornerback talent. I also a see a special teams unit that could be truly special, with the returning capabilities, the kicking consistency and the fact that they have multiple players with a knack for getting their fingers on the ball when opponents kick.
John Skelton has not been spectacular, but his decision making has been solid for the most part. More importantly, he has the confidence you want. Add that to a running game that could be more than decent and you have a team built a lot like the 2011 49ers. Is the team going to have 13 wins...or even double digit wins? Not likely. I see a team that will play well at home (as it has done since 2007) and struggles on the road. At home, they will almost run the table, winning seven of their eight contests. They will pick up a win in St. Louis and sneak away with a win against the Jets. Will they make the playoffs? That's a longshot.
But will they be competitive? Absolutely.
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