Could Arizona Cardinals Start Season 0-4?
The Arizona Cardinals were a playoff team last year, but there’s a distinct possibility this team could start the season 0-4.
The Arizona Cardinals spent this offseason going through a very common situation in the NFL – figuring out how much they’ll have to pay their franchise quarterback.
The result was what we all expected, with Kyler Murray signing a big deal, and the conversation moving on to what this team will actually look like during the regular season.
The bigger issue really in Arizona has nothing to do with their franchise QB’s salary though, and more to do with the alarming trends we’ve seen over the last two seasons from this team.
After starting 7-0 last year, the Cards stumbled to 4-6 over the last 10 games of the season. Rubbing salt in the wound, they were embarrassed 34-11 by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams in their first playoff game.
In 2020, a 5-2 start before the bye was followed by a 3-6 stretch, and no postseason.
Have you seen the start to their schedule this year? Well, it’s daunting, to say the least.
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Some Bad Trends
After what we saw to end last season, along with Murray and his coach Kliff Kingsbury in what’s looking to be a fragile relationship at best, the momentum may not swing in Arizona’s favor early in the year.
The BetQL Model is projecting the Cardinals will go over their win total, but not by as much as they did last season. The model is projecting Arizona will win 9.3 games to go over their 8.5-game win total. And if you want to get in on the over or the under on this win total, the under is -140, and the over at +118 at Caesars.
BetMGM has this easy-to-overlook prop under their team specials, which could be a serious bet to consider —the Cardinals to start 0-4 at +700.
Sure, they’ve started off strong the last two seasons, but with the offseason drama and mounting pressure on this organization to make a serious jump, I’m not ruling out last year’s collapse carrying over to the start of 2022. Let’s also not forget they won’t have DeAndre Hopkins for the first six weeks of the season either with his suspension looming.
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Quality Opponents Spell Trouble
What makes it even more intriguing is seeing the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Rams as their first three opponents, setting up a real shot for a 0-3 lead-off. The Cardinals host the Chiefs but are 3.5-point underdogs. They go to Vegas to play the Raiders and again are not favored at +2. Then they host the Rams but are getting two points.
Week 4 is where it gets a little tricky here, with the Cardinals heading to the Carolina Panthers, getting a team that could be thriving under Baker Mayfield, or struggling to find consistency. They are favored in that game by three points.
If the Panthers get “good Baker”, the improved roster as a whole could be an early surprise. If we see the same Baker we saw last year, this bet could be dead in the water at that point. When Mayfield is healthy though, he’s a solid middle-of-the-pack starter in this league, and that’s enough to make four straight losses to start the season a reasonable bet for the Cards.
These first few games are a much more concentrated collection of strong opponents than what’s been on the schedule in the past two seasons, with Arizona seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Commanders (then just “Football Team” of course), Detroit Lions, and an eventual 5-11 Panthers team in either 2021 or 2020. It’s a lot easier to gain some early momentum with opponents like that as opposed to the gauntlet they have early on in 2022.
Obviously, there’s a reason why it’s 7 to 1 to happen, but worth adding to your bet slip given what’s in front of them, and maybe a few bragging rights as well if it ends up hitting.
The pressure is real for this organization now, and we’ve seen too many major collapses and a few red flags recently to make you confident in Arizona taking the next step this season.
Sure 0-4 is still a long shot, but it’s certainly not out of the question.