In this weeks installment of predicting the Arizona Cardinals 2010 record, the Cardinals are coming off their first loss of the season to face the defending Super Bowl champs and a division rival. They'll get a rematch with the Saints after their embarrassing 14-45 loss in last year's divisional round of the playoffs. After this, the Cardinals are back on the road to play in one of the toughest environments in Seattle. In between both games, they will get a well-needed bye week. The first four weeks of the season are linked below, and find out how the next two will fare beginning with New Orleans.
Week 5 - vs New Orleans Saints
Key Additions: Alex Brown(DE), Patrick Robinson(CB), Roy Hall(WR), Jimmy Wilkerson(DE)
Key Losses: Scott Fujita(OLB), Mike Bell(RB)
Offseason Analysis: After winning the Super Bowl, the Saints had a relatively quiet offseason compared to the rest of the NFL. They did lose two key contributors in Fujita and Bell, but also added depth at defensive end and drafted a corner in the 1st round of the draft. The biggest storyline in New Orleans was the uncertainty behind safety Darren Sharper. After an offseason surgery, Sharper toyed around with the idea of signing elsewhere, but eventually decided to return to the Saints for another season.
Season Outlook: The Saints could realistically challenge for a second consecutive Super Bowl run in 2010. They didn't lose much of their supporting cast and the added playoff experience will only improve their team as a whole. Throw in the fact that they have the 27th ranked schedule in the league and all of a sudden they are the clear favorites of the NFC...again.
Key Match-Up: Greg Toler vs Robert Meachem - If Cardinal fans want something to forget from last season's playoff loss to the Saints, it's the poor play from the secondary. After Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was lost to injury, Michael Adams and Bryant McFadden were exposed by New Orleans receiving core. DRC will hold his own, but it will be interesting to see how Greg Toler reacts to the pressure of being the Cardinals number two.
Prediction: Loss - Although the Saints will be traveling on the road when they play the Cardinals, their offensive fire power will be too much for the Cardinals defense. New Orleans defense is also very athletic which will give the Cardinals match up problems, especially if Matt Leinart doesn't have his head screwed on tight by this game.
Week 6 - Bye Week
Week 7 - At Seattle Seahawks
Key Additions: Charlie Whitehurst(QB), LenDale White(RB), Russell Okung(OT), Earl Thomas(FS), Leon Washington(RB)
Key Losses: Nate Burleson(WR), Travis Fisher(CB), Deon Grant(SS), Cory Redding(DE), Darryl Tapp(DE), Seneca Wallace(QB), Patrick Kerney(DE)
Offseason Analysis: After firing Jim Mora Jr. at the start of the offseason, the Seahawks brought in USC head coach Pete Carroll. They also parted ways with several veteran players and had the best draft in the entire league. Carroll is doing everything he can to put his stamp on this team and it has shown in just one offseason.
Season Outlook: Although the Seahawks aren't the favorite to win the division, they've done enough this offseason to surprise a few teams throughout the season. Adding Earl Thomas to the secondary gives them a play maker that could change the outcome of games. The biggest question mark heading into the season is quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. If he can perform like the quarterback he once was, the Seahawks have a good chance to finish the season as a possible wild card team. They do need to find a pure pass rusher because as of right now, they have none.
Key Match-Up: Darnell Dockett vs Russell Okung - As soon as Okung was drafted Darnell Dockett responded by twittering "Fresh Meat" from his twitter account. Dockett will get his first chance at Okung during week seven and he'll show the top ranked tackle coming out of college what the NFL is really like.
Prediction: Win - The Cardinals traveled to Seattle last year and completely dismantled the Seahawks, winning 27-3 in front of a surprised home crowd. This year, the Seahawks will be a more competitive team but that won't be enough to slow a Cardinals team coming off a well-needed bye week.
Arizona Cardinals record after 6 games - 4-2
The Cardinals have a chance to stay on top of the division and establish themselves as one of the better teams in the NFC after six weeks. A loss against New Orleans is expected, but let's not forget that this team can turn "it" on at any time and surprise a few teams(Last season vs Vikings and Giants). What do you think the Cardinals record will be after six weeks of the season?