Like (presumably) many of you, I visit ESPN frequently for NFL coverage. If you do the same, then you know that the Worldwide Leader has a beat reporter for every NFL team. The Arizona Cardinals’ longtime beat reporter is a gentleman named Josh Weinfuss. Josh does a great job covering his beat—he’s knowledgeable, tapped in, and pretty objective.
But there’s one thing Josh isn’t so good at. And that is predictions. Specifically, bold predictions.
Every Friday, ESPN publishes a piece looking at each game on the schedule. Storylines, stats, matchups, fantasy, betting, that kind of thing. It’s a good overview of the upcoming games if you don’t follow the rest of the league as closely as the Cardinals.
Part of the piece is one of the beat writers offering a “bold prediction” about the upcoming game. Usually the predictions aren’t too spicy. “Player X will get 100 yards.” “Player Y will get a sack.” “The defense will hold the other team to 17 points.” But sometimes, the predictions get pretty wild. Pretty capital-B Bold.
Josh’s predictions are usually in that category.
I first took note of this a couple years ago when he predicted that Kyler Murray would have back-to-back games with 400+ passing yards and 100+ rushing yards (plus 9 combined TDs). It’s important to note here that no player has ever accomplished that feat in a single game. (At least since tracking such stats has been commonplace.) Kyler went 316/19 and 268/39 in those games (with 3 combined TDs)… so Josh was just a little off there.
Another fun one was right after we traded for the receiver formerly known as Robbie Anderson when he predicted that Anderson would have 100+ yards AND a TD. Instead, Anderson had… 0 catches on 3 targets and was basically completely ineffectual in his brief time in a Cardinals uniform. But you gotta respect that boldness!
So for a little bit of fun today, I thought I’d take a look at Josh’s bold predictions so far this season and see what came of them. Keep in mind that this is just for fun and is in no way, shape, or form meant to denigrate Josh’s otherwise exemplary work as Cardinals beat reporter.
Note: This was written Thursday. I will update this piece if there is another bold prediction from Josh on Friday.
Bold prediction: James Conner will finish with 100 yards and a touchdown in his 2023 debut, capping a day in which he has 20 carries and five catches. All offseason, the message from the Cardinals was that they were going to commit to the run this season, and we’ll see it right away.
Boldness Meter: This is one of Josh’s milder predictions. Conner is an established lead back and the talk all offseason was how much the Cardinals were going to run the ball this season. And Conner has had 17 such games under his belt, including 6 in a Cardinals uniform. (I’m just counting games of 100+ combined yards and at least 1 TD to give Josh the benefit of the doubt.) Let’s call this one a 3/10.
Result: Conner had just 62 yards on the ground and no TDs. He did have exactly 5 receptions though! Although they went for just 8 yards. This was definitely a miss for Josh, although he’s had and would have worse misses, as we’ll see.
Bold prediction: Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs will finally break out and have his first 300-yard passing game while adding 75 yards on the ground. Dobbs has been solid so far, as his 61.2 QBR ranks 10th in the NFL, but he’ll step it up even more and put Arizona in position to pull an upset.
Boldness Meter: This is much spicier. Not only has Dobbs never hit either benchmark in any game (much less the same game), not even Kyler Murray has hit 300/75 in the same game. He’s come close a couple times but hasn’t quite gotten there. Plus this was against the vaunted 49ers defense. This is at least an 8/10.
Result: Josh wasn’t actually too far off! Dobbs didn’t hit either benchmark, but he did go for 265/48, so he got somewhere around 80% there. And although Dobbs didn’t exactly “put Arizona in position to pull an upset,” they still hung around for most of the game. Not too bad!
Bold prediction: Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs will make up for Conner’s absence and have the best game of his career. He’ll throw for more than 300 yards and rush for at least 100 against a Rams defense that ranks 16th in opponent scoring (21.6 points allowed per game) in the Cardinals’ second win of the season.
Boldness Meter: Spoilers: You’re going to start to see a theme here. Josh doubled down here—and then some. Not only did he go with 300 passing yards again, but he upped the rushing total to 100 yards. PLUS he actually called the upset. Now THIS is boldness, Birdgang. This is a 9/10 for sure.
Result: Dobbs had a very similar game to Week 4, yardage-wise: he went 235/47. Not bad, but definitely not 300/100. And while the Cardinals were ahead at halftime, they got punched in the mouth in the second half and wound up losing by more than two touchdowns. Swing and a miss here from Josh.
Bold prediction: Dobbs will throw for 300 yards and lead the Cardinals with 100 rushing yards. With Dobbs’ days as a starter winding down, he’ll show he’s capable of being a starter for another team. Seattle has given up an average of 257.6 passing yards per game this season. Though the Seahawks have improved recently on defense, they did give up more than 300 yards passing to their first three opponents. Arizona will be the fourth to go 300-plus on Seattle.
Boldness Meter: My man TRIPLED down here! Fool me once, etc. Josh called yet another 300/100 game for Dobbs, hearkening back to the Kyler 400/100 predictions of 2021. He certainly has a predilection for predicting unprecedented, historic performances from Cardinals QBs. Since he tripled down for this one, let’s go with a full 10/10.
Result: Welp. Dobbs had perhaps his worst game as a Cardinal since Week 1, going just 146/43 as the Cardinals were stymied by the Seahawks defense. If you combine the previous two weeks’ stats, Dobbs would get close to 300/100… but not quite there. Maybe he’ll get there this week?
If nothing else, Josh Weinfuss truly knows how to go bold. Either he really understands the assignment—many “bold predictions” you see out there are really only mildly spicy—or he takes whatever Aaron Rodgers takes in the offseason. Either way, his predictions are always entertaining, if not accurate or even plausible. They’re always something I look forward to on Fridays.
Now it’s your turn, RotBers. How bold can you get? Weinfuss bold? Give us your boldest Cardinals prediction for Sunday’s game in the comments. 150 yards for Emari Demercado? 5 sacks for Dennis Gardeck? Back to the well with Dobbs? Let’s see what you got!