It is finally time for the real thing.
And, to make sure we all cop to what we actually said, we need a predictions post.
So, the Revenge of the Birds staff has posted their predictions, along with some commentary from some, on what we expect from the 2019 NFL season.
Let’s get to it.
Johnny Football: 5-11
The Cardinals enter this season with renewed optimism following what might have been their most embarrassing season in franchise history. While expectations are tempered, I’m not as focused on the final win/loss record as I am with the development of many of the young players (most notably quarterback Kyler Murray). The Cardinals will experience rookie growing pains and lack the quality depth needed to compete with the NFL’s elite. Even so, I do believe the combination of Kingsbury and Murray will give us enough to cheer about most Sundays. The defense, on the other hand, is simply not equipped with enough quality players to consistently shut down (or even slow) most opposing offenses. Look for the Cardinals to be a competent (and sometimes entertaining) watch, which is saying a lot compared to 2018.
John Buckley: 5-11
Excited about Kyler but we’re going to struggle in the trenches and at corner until Peterson is back. (Check out John’s game-by-game predictions)
Andy Kwong: 6-10
Tyler Nickel: 5-11
While I think we will see major strides made on offense under Kliff Kingsbury and new quarterback Kyler Murray, the defense still leaves much to be desired. The Cardinals will be without their top two cornerbacks for essentially half the season, the inside linebacker group is thin and the defensive line has already shown signs of being unable to defend against the opponent’s running game.
If the up tempo Kingsbury offense can create enough fireworks to drastically outscore opposing offenses it may not matter, but I think there will be an adjustment period for the rookie coach and quarterback.
Blake Murphy: 7-9
It’s hard not to get excited about Kyler, Kliff and the Cardinals. Combining a unique talent with a unique playcaller who is at the forefront, not the rear, in terms of design and exploiting defenses should be a lot of fun.
The fact however is that while this team probably has enough playmakers to avoid a poor season, it doesn’t have enough to push them over the top. But as we’ve seen in the NFL a dynamic rookie QB can add 3-4 wins to a team’s projected total and while the schedule seems tough right now, at least it’s likely Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford return to make the games competitive ones.
I think that while AZ might get off to a quick start (not as quick as most think however) the penalties and young rookie mistakes will sink the Cards mid season only for a strong cohesive push at the end to give fans promises of a great 2020.
In that sense perhaps I agree with the 2018 Browns and Baker Mayfield’s successful season as a harbringer for what’s to come for the Cards. Just don’t get too high or too low after a blowout win or a crushing loss and hopefully it’s a fun ride all the same this year.
Robert Ban: 4-12
To be frank, there were several other avenues I would have preferred at every turn the organization made. But I don’t necessarily think they made bad choices all around, just not the best ones. That said, and I feel like I’m repeating myself here... rookie head coach, rookie QB, and year zero (yes, not one, zero.) of what could be a rough rebuild... It doesn’t paint a great picture. I see two real winnable games, and you can probably spot the team three or so more because the NFL is wild, but I did the same last year and had too optimistc of a projection. Yeah, cheap to say in hindsight, I know.
Hold on to your butts.
Walter Mitchell: 9-7
The games should be high scoring affairs like Oklahoma’s last year with the offense trying to score enough points to compensate for a vulnerable defense. In more cases than not, Kyle Murray and his array of playmakers help pull off 4th quarter wins.
I’ve always said there is a two-game swing to either side of things that will inevitably play out. That’s not a cop out, as much as it is the season-to-season unpredictability of the NFL. That’s why a 5-11 finish would not shock me, as neither would a 9-7 finish.
However, the Cardinals are trying something drastically different.
I think it will work, but not to the effect where I see a playoff team.
No, I see a team that plays a bit above their talent, the opposite of 2018 and a great building block for the immediate future.