The 2018 season was a horror show for the Arizona Cardinals. The team opened up the year with a four-game losing streak. Later in the year, the club would slog through a three- and a four game skid. At the end of the year, the record stood at 3-13.
That was the worst record in the NFL for the season. On the bright side, the Cardinals did receive the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft for their efforts. Unsurprisingly, the team’s poor showing was followed by a housecleaning in the offseason.
Head coach Steve Wilks was let go after the regular season came to a close. The team would move quickly and hire Kliff Kingsbury. The former Texas Tech head coach is viewed as a rising star in coaching circles, and there will be plenty of eyes watching to see if his high-powered offensive style can translate to the NFL.
While 2018 was a year to forget, it’s a new day in Arizona. Kingsbury will be patrolling the sidelines, while the team used the top pick in the draft on Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, an electric player who was rewarded with the Heisman Trophy after a stellar final year in college.
There’s optimism that the Kingsbury-Murray combo will lead to the offense showing more of a pulse in 2019. While that may be the case, NFL betting sites aren’t sold that it will translate into success in the standings. Current odds have Arizona bringing up the rear of the NFC West, and it’s not even close.
Is that a fair assessment of the state of the Cardinals as we get set for a new season? Or is Kingsbury about to teach the rest of the league a thing or two?
We’ll work towards finding out the answer to those two pressing questions and many others with a closer look at Arizona. Let’s get started by examining the 2018 season that was in the desert.
Arizona Cardinals 2018 Season Recap
Record: 3-13 | Standings: 4-NFC West | Playoffs: N/A
The Cardinals opened up the 2018 season by welcoming the Washington Redskins to town. They were promptly taken out to the woodshed to the tune of a 24-6 loss. Things didn’t get any better the following week when they were pounded on the road by the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 34-0.
Arizona would go on to lose its first four games of the year. They showed some signs of life in the last two losses, dropping both by a combined total of five points. The streak was finally halted with a 28-18 road victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
It was back to the loss column the following two weeks with the Cardinals dropping a pair of games by double digits. They were able to pick up a three-point win over the 49ers at home in Week 8 to enter the bye week with a mark of 2-6.
The week off didn’t do much good. The team came right out and dropped its next three games, with two of the losses coming by double digits. In Week 13, they surprised with a three-point road win over the Green Bay Packers, who responded by firing head coach Mike McCarthy.
That would be the final win of the year for the club. Arizona closed out the year with a four-game losing streak, falling in the first three by double digits. In the Week 17 finale, they kept it respectable and lost by three points on the road to the Seattle Seahawks.
A final record of 3-13 made it pretty clear that there were big changes to come in Arizona during the offseason.
Arizona Cardinals Offseason Moves
Wilks was relieved of his duties after the season came to a close. His one-year tenure was a rough one, but fingers can also be pointed upstairs as the 2018 Cardinals were simply a poorly constructed squad. Joining Kingsbury to lead the team will be the passing game coordinator and QB coach Tom Clements, as well as defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
The club added players including LB Terrell Suggs, OG J.R. Sweezy, LB Jordan Hicks. And DL Darius Philon. On the way out of Arizona are players including LB Markus Golden. Murray was the headline add in the draft, and that led to the club shipping away Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins.
Rosen was the team’s first-round QB selection in 2017, but the landing of Murray made him expendable. In round two, the team grabbed Washington S Byron Murphy. Later round additions include UMass WR Andy Isabella and Boston College DE Zach Allen.
Murray is expected to start from day one, with free-agent signee Brett Hundley penciled in as primary backup. David Johnson could be rejuvenated in the backfield with a new offensive scheme in place. Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Isabella are atop the wideout depth chart.
The club re-signed TE Ricky Seals-Jones in the offseason, and they also nabbed Charles Clay, who is opening up camp on the PUP list. The defense wasn’t the worst part of the team last year, but there is plenty of room for improvement. We’ll have to wait and see if the tweaks and a new DC will make that happen.
Arizona Cardinals 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||vs. Detroit Lions||4:25 PM||FOX|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||at Baltimore Ravens||1:00 PM||FOX|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||vs. Carolina Panthers||4:05 PM||FOX|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||vs. Seattle Seahawks||4:05 PM||FOX|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM||FOX|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. Atlanta Falcons||4:05 PM||FOX|
|7||Sun. Oct.20||at New York Giants||1:00 PM||FOX|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||at New Orleans Saints||1:00 PM||CBS|
|9||Thu. Oct.31||vs. San Francisco 49ers||8:20 PM||FOX|
|10||Sun. Nov.10||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 PM||FOX|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||at San Francisco 49ers||4:05 PM||FOX|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||vs. Los Angeles Rams||4:05 PM||FOX|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||4:25 PM||CBS|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||vs. Cleveland Browns||4:05 PM||CBS|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||at Seattle Seahawks||4:25 PM||FOX|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||at Los Angeles Rams||4:25 PM||FOX|
Arizona opens up the year at home once again, this time with the Lions coming to town. The competition ratchets up over the next three weeks with a trip to Baltimore followed by home dates with the Panthers and Seahawks.
For the month of October, the Cardinals will be on the road for three of five games, including a trip to New Orleans. It’s two more road games for the team to contend with before they reach the Week 12 bye.
The last five games of the year look absolutely brutal. The Cardinals will face the Rams twice and travel to Seattle over that stretch. On the bright side, the team’s first three games out of the bye will be at home.
Arizona Cardinals 2019 Outlook
The NFC West generated two playoff teams in the Rams and Seahawks last year, and it wouldn’t be stunning to see those clubs do it once again. The 49ers should be improved as well after an injury-plagued 2018. For the six division games, the best the Cardinals can hope for is two wins, with one a real possibility.
The remainder of the NFC schedule is challenging as well. The Cardinals will be home to face the Lions, Panthers, and Falcons. They’ll be on the road to take on the Giants, Saints, and Buccaneers. If all goes well and Kingsbury surprises some folks in the early going, two wins is possible.
Interconference play means dates with the tough AFC North this year. Arizona will be on the road to take on the Ravens and Bengals. They’ll be home for the Steelers and Browns. Once again, a win or two is likely the best-case scenario.
Arizona Cardinals 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the oddsmakers have set the bar for the Cardinals in 2019. It’s a step up from the club’s three-win campaign of a year ago, but there aren’t exactly expectations for huge improvement.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
Kingsbury is a bright young offensive mind who is highly-regarded in coaching circles. While we expect the club to be much improved on that side of the ball, we’ll tap the brakes on this being a game-changing hire.
Not too many moons ago, the same plaudits were being written about Chip Kelly as he prepared to take over the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly had some moments in the early going, but the league caught up to him pretty quick, as in by the time the second half of the year rolled around.
Is there any reason to believe the same won’t happen with Kingsbury? We’re in the camp that believes it will. Arizona will show some flashes and provide hope for the future, but that’s about as far as it will go. We’re going Under on the Cardinals for 2019.