Arizona Cardinals Game One Winning Aspirations

Tensions have flared as eager NFL fans from all over rush to share that one common aspiration they have fraught over, with months of preparation and immense anticipation. At the local Walmart, color televisions are flying off the shelves like cattle through an open chute. And it’s not those tiny, economical TVs they’re after. No, NFL fans want the big ones, with the High-definition, and a screen so wide the neighbor can watch it from across the street. Snacks? Check. Beer? Check. Team jersey? Check. Fantasy League? And check. All preparations are in order. It’s time for some football!

For Arizona Cardinals fans, the sheer passion they hold for their team is reciprocated. Some Cardinals fans (the truest fans) have not missed a single game since 1988, where we had to watch the team from primitive-style bleachers, at Sun Devil Stadium, in the middle of the sweltering, desert sun. Although the official 2018 NFL season began on Thursday night, the Cardinals must wait until Sunday to face their first matchup against the visiting Washington Redskins. The house (State Farm Stadium) will be packed, Red Bird fans are restless, and mounting tensions are growing higher than ever. Game time is set for 1:25 pm, MST on FOX.

Arizona Cardinals Game One Winning Aspirations

“Guys were locked in. They were focused,” said Cardinals new head coach Steve Wilks, after Monday’s practice. “Sometimes, you know, coming off a weekend and having a few days off, you never know. But it just shows you where we’re at right now as a team. For those guys to bounce back, and I’m talking about in all three phases, I thought it was pretty good.”

Face it; the Arizona Cardinals are in the earliest stages of a team rebuilding process. Under coach Wilks and his staff, many changes are bound to occur with this powerhouse of a team. Many changes have already been made. And with just the right ingredients the Cardinals have a fair chance against any of their divisional rivals, who incidentally are going through rebuilding phases of their own.  Predictions from league analysts have the team finishing the season with an 8-8 (.500) record, in last place in the NFC West Division, and behind the Seattle Seahawks. But the Cardinals aren’t interested in analytical predictions and make-believe stats. This team has a focus on its aspiration, and that is defeating the Redskins on Sunday.

Keys To The Game

Beginning the season with a 1-0 record is very gratifying, not only to the team but also to the fans. Winning the very first game at home only solidifies the gratification. It also feels better than bearing the thought of being a 0-1 team. So what will it take for the Cardinals to defeat the Redskins on Sunday? Let’s take a look!

On the Offense

Maybe the most noticeable changes made to the Cardinals offense is at the quarterback position. The starting job now belongs to veteran quarterback Sam Bradford. The Cardinals front offense can pat themselves on the back for these decisions. With a solid running game, led by running back David Johnson (perhaps the greatest running back in NFL history), the Cardinals will have a copious selection of easy targets and open receivers for Bradford to keep the ball moving down the field. Also, with future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald added to the mix, the Cardinals offense should operate like a well-oiled machine. The defense of the Redskins will have their hands full on Sunday against this very formidable team.

Speaking of Defense

If one thing can be proven from the preseason exhibition, it is that the Cardinals have a defense. The Cardinals have been ranked at the top of the league in the defense category for the last three years straight.

This season doesn’t appear to be any different, except maybe that the defense is even better than before. Veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson is healthy and ready to return to his obdurate role covering the backfield. The front line responsibilities fall in the hands of veteran leader and defensive end Chandler Jones. Jones led the league last season with 17 total sacks. Defense wins games. The Redskins offense will discover this on Sunday.

Special Teams

At least four of the Cardinals eight losses last season can be attributed to the poor performance on special teams. Granted, the Cardinals finished out winning the final two games of the season, but it was mainly the combination of missed field goals, weak tackling, and overall piss-poor play on special teams that kept the Cardinals from garnering a winning record and a post season berth. A solid special team performance is essential if the Cardinals aspire to win against the Redskins on Sunday, especially in a close-game scenario. Enjoy the game.

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals breaks from the line during the first half of the NFL game against the New York Giants at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 24, 2017, in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Giants 23-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

Cardinals Preseason Overreaction

Three games into the Arizona Cardinals preseason and we have learned a lot about the team. The Cardinal’s have not lost a game under new head coach Steve Wilks. In those three games, Arizona has forced 16 turnovers with eight of them coming last week against the Dallas Cowboys. After watching a few meaningless games, only one thing is sure. The Arizona Cardinals are going to win the Super Bowl.

The Cardinals Are Better This Year

Every single expert has Arizona at the bottom of the division, if not the entire league. Madden has given the team the same overall rating as the Cleveland Browns. That is correct; Madden thinks that a team that went 8-8 without David Johnson is somehow on the same level as the 0-16 Browns.

Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton lead our team to eight wins and were a botched field goal or two away from a ten win season. The signing of Justin Pugh has gone unnoticed, but he is a considerable upgrade over Evan Boehm. Boehm was playing out of position at guard in only his second year in the league. The left side of the line is back and healthy going into this year and through the first three games rookie Mason Cole has only allowed one pressure.

How experts think that the team is going to be worse than 8-8 after adding Bradford and Rosen at QB is confusing.

Parity Is Real

Watching the rest of the NFL this preseason has only shown me that the league is up for grabs. The Patriots are going to be good, but the difference between them and the bottom of the league is not that much. With the Cardinals defense’s ability to keep them in games, they will have a chance to win every week. They have some challenging games on the road this season, but as the saying goes, defense travels.

If they can go 6-2 at home and 4-4 on the road, they will find their way to the playoffs. We all know that if they can get in the playoffs, anything can happen. The perfect mix of veterans and young guns will help Arizona in the close games that they will find themselves in. Larry Fitzgerald looks like he is still is ridiculously good self and Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones are in positions to dominate this year.

What It All Means

The Cardinals have four guys on their offensive line that have injury problems. The health troubles of our QB has been well documented throughout his entire career.

If we can keep our core starters healthy, the Cardinals have a real shot this year. Coach Mike McCoy can protect Bradford by getting the ball out early. Our defense can cause turnovers at an incredible rate. We have two of the best players in the league on both sides of the ball. I will repeat it. The Cardinals will win the Super Bowl.

More proof David Johnson is not fully human

The idea that Johnson is some sort of cyborg is not my own. Robert Mays of the Ringer proposed the idea back in October in an article examining the league’s best young running backs.  The notion has been stuck in my mind ever since.

He never seems to show emotion on the field and he just handles business like a grizzled vet. But he is just a kid that has had all of the praise in the world thrown at him by fans, analysts, and coaches. He single handily won thousands of fantasy football championships (And lost some, but don’t have your championship in week 17, that is just ridiculous). He makes jump cuts small backs struggle with and runs receiver routes that big backs like LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi can only dream about.

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Arizona Cardinals Recap and Prediction Review Week Two

Finally, this is what I was waiting for. The Arizona Cardinals showed up and in all three phases impressed. The Cardinals are now plus seven in turnover ratio. This probably the best indicator that the offense and defense are both doing their job.

Arizona Cardinals Recap and Prediction Review Week Two

What did I say? 

Cardinals 31- Bucs 17

The Cardinals have a week under their belt and are a little more balanced in their attack. Both Johnsons will score on the ground and Palmer will throw a pair of touchdown passes. One may be to a running back, but a pass non the less.

The Bucs are outmatched and their front seven is better than in the past, but they are not ready for our road grading O-line.

Jameis Winston will throw a beautiful pass for a score, but will make enough boneheaded plays that his team will be out of the game by the second quarter. BA won’t be happy with how we finish

How did I do?

First off I got this week right. The Cardinals won. I did okay predicting some of the game action, but the details were a little off.

When I said that both Johnsons would score, the bigger prediction was that Chris Johnson would get in the end zone. Interestingly enough David Johnson did not score in the game despite going over 100 yards from scrimmage again.

Jameis Winston did throw a beautiful touchdown to Mike Evans with Patrick Peterson in coverage. Peterson was able to take advantage of a 50/50 ball that Winston likes to throw to his big receivers, however.

What I didn’t see coming was the rest of the turnovers. I thought our defense would play well, but they really controlled this game. Marcus Cooper made the most of his first action with the Cardinals. He also impressed teammate Patrick Peterson.

Final Thoughts

The Cardinals hit the road next week against the Buffalo Bills. I am hoping for a repeat performance from the Cardinals during week two. I am worried that the defense of the Bills will be able to cause some issues for the deep passing game of the Cardinals. It should be another fun game and I can’t wait.

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.

#LongBall