With the Arizona Cardinals season opener creeping closer and closer, what better time to surf around the net and find out just how the 'experts' are projecting the Red Birds this season. We'll not only look for predictions of record and playoff status but also for the random predictions that guys have thrown out there.
Sports Illustrated pulled together nine of the NFL contributors (Peter King, Don Banks, Jim Trotter, Ross Tucker, Damon Hack, Lee Jenkins, John P. Lopez, Adam Duerson & Dominic Bonvissuto) to compile a huge group of projections and predictions that comprised two different posts (here and here). Here's a sampling of what they had to say about the Cardinals...
- Of the nine experts, six of them predict the Cards to win the West although no one expects them to play in the NFC Title game.
- Under a section titled "Star Who Has A Subpar Season," Peter King lists Anquan Boldin and he cites injuries and the lack of a new contract as his reasons. Don Banks also lists Kurt Warner although he doesn't really list a clear reason why other than that he doesn't think that KW can duplicate his 2008 success.
ESPN has similar format although they really go overboard and get the opinion of 16 experts including, John Banks, Jeffri Chadiha, John Clayton, Tim Graham, Jeremy Green, Paul Kuharsky, Matt Mosley, Len Pasquarelli, Mike Sando, Adam Schefter, Kevin Seifert, James Walker, Seth Wickersham, Bill Williamson, Matt Williamson and Pat Yasinskas. Together they are picking the division winners, and the usual individual awards (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year etc.). An even 50% of the vote came in with the Cardinals winning the West and the Niners did receive a couple of votes as well so it wasn't just Arizona or Seattle.
- Chadiha was the only one of the 16 though to give an individual award to a Cardinals' player or coach and he picked Chris Wells to win the offensive rookie of the year award.
- In case you didn't think that was enough though, ESPN also has a Cardinals preview in which each of the 16 experts gives his views on the team and explains his projections as well as some other good stuff.
Arizona's own Arizona Republic put together their own panel of experts to predict the final standings and the Cardinals were picked to win the West by three of the four. Again though no one picks them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Clark Judge of CBS Sports previews the NFC West and his top dog in the division is actually a bird, but it's not a Cardinal. Judge says that Arizona will fall victim to the Super Bowl losers curse and that seems to really be the only reason he's not backing the Cards this season.
Fox Sports has season preview after season preview, three of them in fact, that predict the Cardinals will win the NFC West and one even has their record at a lofty 11-5 (here, here and here).
The Sporting News looks at it from a little different perspective and instead of listing each team's record and final spot in the standings they basically filled out a playoff bracket. In the end it accomplishes the same goal and of their seven experts, five of them project the Cardinals to make the playoffs and two of them actually had the Cardinals losing in the second round after receiving a first round bye. Again though, no NFC title game.
What If Sports is a simulation-based program that is normally way off but it's fun to look at none the less. They actually have a rematch of the NFC title game (ARI vs. PHI) although this time it's played in the city of (not so) Brotherly Love and the Eagles win 28-17. If you're really interested you can check out the box score and play by play from the fictional game but I do have hard time believing that Leonard Pope will catch a ball in that game. They also list the top five candidates at each of the individual awards and Larry Fitzgerald gets a mention at fourth and fifth in the race for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards, respectively. Their NFC West preview also has some interesting stuff.
That's about all I can find but I think you get the picture. Plenty of people think the Cardinals can repeat at champs of the West but no one expects them to return the NFC Title game, much less the Super Bowl. Since we're talking predictions though, what are yours for the season? They can be anything from MVP to rushing title to Super Bowl Champ to Pro Bowls on the Cardinals roster.....have fun.