Bring on the Buccaneers

Less than 24 hours until game time and I am nervous. Going through my previous predictions I had the Arizona Cardinals starting out fast. I wrote about a worst case scenario that had us at 7-4 through 12 weeks of the season. In that worst case scenario I never thought that losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was possibility. When asked this week, I gave the Bucs a 40% chance of winning. At this time of the year, you never know.

Bring on the Buccaneers

I have watched every throw that Jameis Winston made last week three times. Winston was not sacked last week and that will need to change. At a minimum, the Cardinals will need to get consistent pressure to disrupt their timing. Winston did a decent job of checking down to his backs and tight ends when he was in trouble. This will challenge the tackling of the Cardinals that struggled last week.

The Cardinals Offense

The offense was out of sync last week and I expect a lot of that to be corrected. John Brown said that he did not feel like himself last week and you could tell. The Cardinals offense is so much more dynamic when Brown is stretching the field leaving throwing lanes open to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Our short yardage running game looked very good last week. We will need our passing game to keep the offense on schedule to allow those short yardage runs to help convert on third downs.

The Defenses

This is a really good game that will feature two very good offenses. I think the difference in this game is the defenses. The Cardinals offense looked very good at times against an exceptionally coached New England Patriots team. The Bucaneerss are not as formidable as the Patriots and the Cardinals should be able to take advantage. The Cardinals defense that struggled against the precise route running of New England last week, won’t be as stressed against the 50/50 type routes the Buccaneers run.

Final Thoughts

What I really want to see happen is our team get their swag back. With the exception of Fitz, It didn’t look line anyone was having fun. This team is built with big time personalities and some real super stars. To be the best version of the Cardinals they need to play like it.


Arizona Cardinals Recap and Prediction Review

There are no moral victories. This was a bad loss and the Arizona Cardinals need to improve in all three phases of the game. The only bright spot of the game is that Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson are fantastic football players.

Tonight, our defense did not live up to the hype. Allowing the New England Patriots to convert on 10-16 third down tries. There was far less blitzing and unique formations from the team than we have seen in previous years. The Cardinals allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to beat them.

Full Season Prediction Review

Lets take a look at game one the full season review that I put together and see how close I was to being right. Here is what I predicted about this game:

Cardinals 23- Patriots 20

The offense has not looked like itself without John Brown stretching the field. He is going to be out of shape and out of sync when he does come back.

The Patriots D is tough even with the loss of Rob Ninkovich and will hold us to only two touchdowns. One on the ground and one through the air. But they will get an easy score themselves off of a bad Palmer turnover.

The three Catanzaro field goals will be the difference even if he does miss one of his tries.

How did I do?

Lets start with the obvious. The overall prediction of the Cardinals winning was wrong. I knew this game would be close. The Patriots are very well coached and always prepared. John Brown was held to one catch on the night and did not create the separation we are used to seeing. The Patriots defense allowed three scores, but forced five punts. Carson Palmer kept his stat sheet clean and did not throw a pic, but his audible to throw on second down with under two minutes to go was bad. Chandler Catanzaro hit three kicks, but they were just extra points. Then he certainly did miss the one kick that would have made a difference.

Please don’t take this as me gloating, because the Cardinals lost. I was wrong about that and that is the only part of the prediction that matters in the NFL.

It would be wrong of me not to say congratulations to Larry for his 100th touchdown. It was a fantastic way to reach that milestone.


Larry Fitzgerald Retiring?

Ian Rapaport just broke news and it is a big deal for Arizona Cardinals fans. He just tweeted this.

If this is true it would be a major shock to everyone considering that he just signed an extension with the team at the beginning of training camp. The Cardinals made moves to keep their Super Bowl window open longer than just this season.

Knowing how Larry hates to answer these types of questions, the post game press conference is going to be very interesting. You can count on Kent Somers from the Arizona Republic to ask the question tonight after the game.

You can see that Rapoport left himself an out in his tweet with the phrase “assuming it holds.” He is right about one thing in this Tweet. Larry Fitzgerald will be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Twitter Responses

In light of how bad this news would be if it were true, the responses on Twitter have been fantastic.

But this one should make you feel the best of them all.

Three Things To Watch: Cardinals vs. Patriots

Sunday Night Football and NBC have to be pretty upset right now. They have been licking their chops at this first Sunday night game since the schedule was announced. Poised to be a huge game, they had two teams with very high expectations pitted against each other. With multiple starters missing for the Patriots offense, it is not looking to stack up as competitively as it did before the injuries and suspensions.

Regardless of the competitiveness of the game here are some things to watch on Sunday night.

1. Will Jimmy Garoppolo be able to pick on rookie corner, Brandon Williams?

Knowing Peterson is on one side and Tyrann Mathieu is in the slot, Garoppolo would be wise to choose a rookie to throw at. Williams will be challenged all day and he will give up some catches. It is important that he make the most of any  opportunity to get his hands on the ball.

2.What does Honeybadger 3.0 look like?

Tryann Mathieu has been one of the most valuable players on the Cardinals roster despite being sidelined with injuries his first three seasons. Will he be able to make the plays we expect of him or will he show some rust like he did coming of his first ACL injury?

3. Can Carson Palmer get it going?

After a poor preseason showing, Carson Palmer has to start his season like he did last year. Converting on third down, in the red zone and protecting the ball. The Patriots D is almost at full strength and is going to give us a good look at how Carson is going to play this year.

Let’s hope for the Cards to take advantage of the opportunity and take another step toward their much larger goals.


Cam Newton: Above the Law?

There was an outrage last year after Jeff Fisher let his QB stay in the game and continue to play after receiving what looked like a concussion causing hit.

Today, the Panthers got away with the same thing. I am not here to argue the idiocy of offsetting penalties for grounding when your QB is blown up with a hit to the helmet. That call flies directly in the face of the player safety stance that the league is committed to.

It just appeared to me and a lot of people watching that if it is the fourth quarter and your team is trying to make a come back on the national stage, player safety rules go out the window.

Social Media reacted right away to the hit.


I don’t 100% agree with Bill Simmons, but this will be a national story for the morning sports talk shows. However, it will die off quickly if Cam Newton shows up tomorrow on camera and looks “OK” during any interviews.

On the other hand if Cam does show up on the injury report with concussion symptoms expect this story to take over the world. The major risk to a player that has had a concussion is to suffer a second one without recovering from the first. If Cam did suffer any type of brain injury on that play, he was out there facing very real and even life threatening danger.

I won’t jump to any conclusions at this point and during his post game interview Cam looked to be himself, but we will know more tomorrow.


The way too soon, season prediction. Part 6  

As of now I have the Cards sitting at 12-2 with two games to go. 

It is unfortunate that the Cards finish with two games on the road and even worse it is two division games. These two games could go from having a first round bye to wild card. 

At this point I have the Seahawks at 10-4 and they would jump ahead of the Cards with the division record tie breaker if the Cards lose to Seattle and Rams consecutively.

Similarly the Cards have a shot to win the NFC with these two games. Carolina has fairly easy schedule, but their division has gotten better. 

It is crazy to think the the opening game of the season will have so much riding on it, but if Carolina wins they are in the driver seat fro the rest of the season. Carolina would have to lose more games than the Cards considering they have the head to head tie break. 

Now for the predictions. 

Cardinals 17- Seattle 24

Seattle is a very dangerous team and while the Cards have had their number at home in the past, it is a tough hill to climb. The games stays interesting and with the Cardinals quick strike ability they have shot to come back late, but Carson will force something and it will end our chances. 

Frank Clark has a good game against the rookie right tackle, but our run games fair s better than most against the Seattle front seven. 

Cardinals 28- Rams 10

Jared Goff has a whole season under his belt at this point, but he is not ready for the Cardinals pass rush. The Cards get a ton of chances with the ball and will ha e some three and outs, but they will get a couple short fields and capitalize. 

David Johnson has a shot to go over 2000 all purpose yards in this game and we try to feed him. 

After this the cards end up with a bye and finish second in the NFC. The Seahawks are rewarded with a trip to Greenbay. Panthers and Cards are waiting to see the results of the other wild card game between the Cowboys and Minnesota. 

I know, I know how am I picking Minnesota? Bradford is a capable QB and the real knock against him is his health. Remember the assumption made in article one, that QBs and major players for teams will stay healthy. So if he can stay on the field I think Minnestoa is good enough for that last spot. 

Thanks for following along with my Nostradamus like predictions. I will be posting as the season goes, looking back at these to laugh at what I thought would happen. 


The way too soon, season prediction. Part 5

Alright Card fans, this is a very important three game stretch for us and it will have big time playoff implications. As it sits now I have us at 9-2, but best case 10-1 and worst case 7-4 are both possibilities.

So in the event the the worst case does happen and we can rattle off three in a row here we will still be an 11 win team at worst.

This is not me walking any of my predictions back, but I just want to talk about a few end of season scenarios that could play out. I think that with the three wins that I am about to predict, we will be in the driver seat to win the division.

If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about go back to Part 1 and catch up with us.

Cardinals 27- Redskins 14

Kirk Cousins and Josh Norman make the trip to Arizona and will leave the Grand Canyon State disappointed. I think that both are very good players, but our defense is playing with fire after coming off a tough loss in Atlanta and they take it to the Redskins early. If I didn’t have as much respect for Cousins as I do, I might predict that they don’t score a touchdown.

I think that Palmer does a good job protecting the ball and finds Larry for a pair of touchdowns as our running game continues to be one of the best in the league.

The conversation of Harold Goodwin being a head coach next year really starts to intensify after this win.

Cardinals 24- Dolphins 10

I am going to predict that I will be going to this game. It is over my birthday weekend and if I put this into the universe it just might happen. The Cards will not disappoint on this trip.

The weather might be windy and or rainy, but our ground attack will be the difference again. I think this is a game where we are reminded just how explosive Andre Ellington is and he may score on special teams as well as the passing game.

Arian Foster could give us some trouble, but the depth of our defensive line will have us at peak performance at this point of the year, while everyone else is nursing bumps and bruises.

Cardinals 35- Saints 20

This is a high scoring affair with the Cards never really in trouble, but the Saints will keep it interesting throughout. They have a very potent offense with Drew Brees and Mark Ingram, but their defense is still expected to be one of the worst in the league. The 35 points we put up on their D will be more about how bad they are rather than how good we are.

Carson again has one of those games that gives us hope that he is everything we need him to be for this to be a special year. Alright everyone, one more post to go. We are at 12-2 with two games left in the regular season.

We are in command of the division, but like last year chasing the Panthers. I will try to cover a couple of the scenairos that could be happening as we are getting ready to head into the playoffs.


The way too soon, season prediction. Part 4

Alright, we are back after the Cardinals bye week and we have three very winnable games in front of us. I would love to see us come out of this stretch standing at 10-1, but I am afraid that is not going to happen.

You can check out the first part of this series here to catch up with us in this post, where I pick up in week 10.

Now for the predictions.

Cardinals 38- 49ers 10

This is an easy win at home against a division opponent. They are not very good and Chip Kelly likes to have his own players in his system and he has not been able to make that happen yet with this roster.

The 49ers are over-matched at every position and we will be able to take advantage coming off the bye. We have seen Chip Kelly’s offense and we know the personnel very well. That is a bad combination for a team with sub-par talent.

Carson gets some confidence and our defense is upset that they even gave up 10 points to this team.

Cardinals 20- Vikings 13

This was going to be a much more difficult game with a healthy Teddy Bridgwater, but we all know what happened there. I wrote an article about Adrian Peterson being the most important non QB to a team, you can check out that post here. As important as AP is to this team, it was so much more difficult to defend the Vikings with a decent QB leading the team. Now with Sam Bradford, who has to learn a new offense again in his career and is not as big of a threat to beat you over the top, slowing down AP seems possible.

The Cardinals do struggle with this defense on the road, but the Vikings won’t be able to get much going on offense either. We do enough and win with a comfortable one touchdown difference.

Cardinals 24- Falcons 30

The Falcons are as dangerous as any team in the league. They have an improved offensive line and a committee of running backs that can hurt you in many different ways. Oh, and some guy named Julio Jones that is ranked in the top 5 in every fantasy draft I have been a part of.

The Cardinals always struggle on back to back road games, especially when the second game is on the east coast. This will be a tight game and we may even have a chance to win in the last half of the fourth quarter, but I think this is one of those games that we fall short on.

Our run game and offense look good overall, but this will be the worst of defense looks all year.

If I am right on our record at this point of the season, I will be very happy. 9-2 with three non divisional games ahead is a great place to be. We will take a commanding lead in the division and that could change how we play our last two games of the season on the road.

But here I go looking too far down the road. It will be important the Cards don’t start looking ahead at this point of the year either. 

Next I will take my shot at predicting the Redskins, Dolphins, and Saints games. 


The way too soon, season prediction. Part 3

Here we go. I have just over one week to complete all my predictions, so I better get to writing. Here is week seven through nine, which gives me a little bit of a break since week nine the Cardinals are off on a bye.

I think that I have been procrastinating this post since it will be the first loss that I give to the Cards, but more on that in a minute.

In part one of this series I explain some assumptions so you can refer back to that here.

Now the predictions.

Cardinals 31- Seahawks 28

This will be the second home game in a row after a tough Jets team was in town. The Seahawks have already had their bye and are coming off of a home game against the Falcons. They are going to be ready for the trip and have won in AZ for five years in a row. That streak will end this week. It will be a high scoring game despite both teams having stellar defenses.

Jimmy Graham will take advantage of some match-ups on the outside and the Cards won’t be able to make the adjustments until late. But our improved run game will wear down that very good Seahawk front seven and we win on a late drive lead by David Johnson.

Cardinals 20- Panthers 28

The Panthers, like the Seahawks, are flying high at this point of the season and we have just played two very tough defenses. The trip to the east coast makes this an even bigger challenge. I think that Palmer will have some success through the air with the absence of Josh Norman, but Cam is just too tough to stop at home. His four touchdowns will be too much to overcome.

Our defense will make some plays though. It won’t be the Cam show that he will put on most teams this year. He has to challenge Peterson and P2 rises to the occasion with his first interception of the year. Maybe two.

Like I said earlier, week 9 is a bye and after these last three games we have earned it. Now let’s hope the Cards get back into our winning ways and build some momentum going into the back half of the schedule.

Let’s go Cards.


The way too soon, season prediction. Part 2

The second installment of my predictions for the 2016 cardinals season will cover games four through six and give you my thoughts for what to expect in each game.

Just like the first post, we will start with a couple of assumptions that I am making to create this breakdown. The Cardinals will stay relatively healthy. No injuries to the nine guys that made the most recent NFL top 100 list or who play thin position groups like cornerback or O-line. But, I am making that assumption for all of our opponents as well.

Cardinals 24 – Rams 10

The Rams always play the division tough and have caused most of the season ending injuries to the Cardinals in recent years. This game will start slow as both teams are more than familiar with each other, but the Cardinals are the better team so they will pull away late in the second and early in the third quarter.

Carson Palmer will throw an interception, but he will have a good game against one of our division rivals. This will also be a rough game for A.Q. Shipley going up against Aaron Donald, but the run game will be able to convert a couple critical third and short situations.

The Rams will not be able to move the ball on us much. Todd Gurley will put up decent numbers, but won’t break the 100 yard mark and we win this game easily.

Cardinals 40 – Niners 17

The second division game of the year for us and the first on the road. We have always been comfortable in Levi’s stadium and will be again. The Niners do not have the fire power on offense or anything that worries me on offense. We won’t overlook a division opponent and will take it to them.

Regardless of who they have under center, they won’t be able to move the ball until garbage time in the fourth quarter.

Carson has his best game yet and has a clean pocket all game. This will be the game that everyone points out to say what is possible if we protect Carson and give him time to throw.

Cardinals 27 – Jets 20

This is going to be a smash mouth football game. Todd Bowles will have his defense ready and they are talented. Revis island will take away an entire side of the field, but our tight ends and running backs will be the difference.

The Cardinals will have to convert again on some of those huge third and short situations and play nearly perfect in the red zone. We have to come up with points on every trip inside the Jets 25 yard line. This will be a tough game for D.J. Humphries, but he will grow during this match-up with the front seven of the Jets.

We are the better team here, but their defense and coaching will be somewhat of an equalizer.

I am excited to be 6-0 and this point with a game with our division rival coming up. Will we be able to keep our momentum or will we fail to protect the nest again? I will write my prediction soon and you can let me know if you agree.