Things change fast in the NFL It was only a couple of weeks ago when the Arizona Cardinals sprung that massive upset against the Dallas Cowboys, making the NFL world stop and take note of what Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon were doing here in the Valley. Things were beginning to look up for this team.
Two weeks and two blowouts later, the national media has moved on to other stories as the 1-4 Cardinals have slid back down toward the bottom of most power rankings. This once feisty-looking team is looking more and more likely to spend the season languishing near the league’s basement.
Things are looking pretty dire for this team moving forward, especially with injuries starting to pile up. We now have James Conner joining the likes of Budda Baker, L.J. Collier, Myjai Sanders, and Carlos Watkins on IR. Plus Kyler Murray is still on the PUP. A roster as talent-deficient as the Cardinals’ will be hard-pressed to stay competitive without several of its best players.
And then you take a look at the schedule. We already know that the Cardinals will be underdogs in every remaining game, but you really have to squint to find games that even look “winnable.” Of course, what constitutes a “winnable” game is pretty nebulous—I don’t think many would have labeled the Cowboys game as “winnable,” but we went ahead and won it anyway.
But to see what I mean, let’s take a look quick look at each of our remaining games:
- Week 6 @ LAR: A road division game against a team that is looking much better than projected with a coach who has consistently had our number.
- Week 7 @ SEA: Another road division game against a 3-1 team with one of the best coaches and homefield advantages in the league.
- Week 8 vs. BAL: This one’s at home and the Ravens have been scuffling a bit, but it’s still John Harbaugh, Lamar Jackson, and that defense.
- Week 9 @ CLE: In the preseason, this was when everyone thought the schedule would “soften up” a bit. The Browns aren’t exactly a juggernaut, but the defense has looked like one of the league’s best at times and this is an early East Coast game.
- Week 10 vs. ATL: Here’s another team that is looking much better than projected with a sturdy defense and strong run game. At least this one is at home.
- Week 11 @ HOU: The Texans are also looking much more competent than expected under first-year coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie sensation CJ Stroud. At least one of our draft picks will get better, win or lose.
- Week 12 vs. LAR: The Rams could very well be making a playoff push at this point now that Cooper Kupp is back in the lineup. Being at home obviously helps, though.
- Week 13 @ PIT: You have to think we’ll win at least one of the games in this more manageable 5-game stretch before the bye, right? But again: early East Coast, good coach, stout defense.
- Week 15 vs. SF: At least we’ll have an extra week to prepare for what will likely be another butt-whooping at the hands of the Niners. Maybe Kyler will be back by this point?
- Week 16 @ CHI: Is this the most “winnable” game left on the schedule? This is an East Coast game, yes, but it’s not an early kickoff and the Bears look like one of the worst teams in football.
- Week 17 @ PHI: Yikes. We go from Chicago in December to Philly in December when the Eagles will probably be fine-tuning for another run to the Super Bowl.
- Week 18 vs. SEA: All we can hope for this game is that Seattle has either clinched their playoff seed or has been eliminated. A win against them at full strength seems pretty unlikely.
So what are we looking at here? Let’s say we win at least one of the Week 9-13 games, knock off the Bears, and pull another upset along the way. That’d put us at 4-13. Maybe Kyler comes back earlier and better than expected and gets us another win or two? (Probably a fool’s hope, but I still believe!) But 5-6 wins would seem to be our absolute ceiling, with 3-4 seeming much more likely. It’s looking like another long season in the desert, isn’t it?
And to think it was just a couple Sundays ago when I had hope that my Sundays wouldn’t be full of blowout losses again. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic here (always easy for a Cardinals fan), but when you look at what the team has shown the past two weeks, the injury report, and the schedule, it’s hard to see when many more wins will be forthcoming.
But at least our draft position will be better next year, right?
It’s your turn to let us know how you’re feeling, RotBers. Vote in the poll below and tell us why you’re hopeful or gloomy like me in the comments.
How many wins will the Cardinals finish with this season?
This poll is closed
3 or fewer