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Arizona Cardinals picked to finish second in NFC West by USA Today

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The Arizona Cardinals are picked to finish second in the NFC West, but miss the playoffs.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-Minicamp Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are not many pundits that are buying into the Arizona Cardinals in 2018.

Not just pundits, the bookmakers in Las Vegas have no doubt that the Arizona Cardinals will not be making the playoffs in 2018.

So, when predictions come out that are slightly against the group think, they become a bit more worth discussing.

That’s what Nate Davis’ 2018 NFL Predictions for USA Today did.

Davis has the Cardinals out of the NFC playoffs, but he has them finishing second in the NFC West:

Arizona Cardinals (7-9): If they get steady play from Sam Bradford (or rookie Josh Rosen), the Cards could really surprise given the return of David Johnson and play of a defense that doesn’t get sufficient credit. But with Bradford’s fragility and Rosen’s inexperience, hard to expect too much under center.

It is not as absurd as it sounds.

The Cardinals don’t need dynamic quarterback play if the offensive line and David Johnson stay healthy.

If the defense can keep up to where they were in 2017, they just need steady if unspectacular play from the quarterback, that minimizes turnovers and keeps the offense on time and in rhythm.

Of course, those are all big, big “if’s”, but in the end, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility to see only one team in the division finish with a winning record.

Davis’ NFC West Predictions:

LA Rams 12-4
Cardinals 7-9
49ers 7-9
Seahawks 4-12