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)

 

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

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.