Can the Arizona Cardinals Best Their Over/Under in 2021?

Arizona Cardinals Over Under

The William Hill Sportsbook released its initial Over/Under projections for the 2021 NFL Season.

And for the Arizona Cardinals, they’re looking at an 8-game Over/Under as of April 18th, 2021.

This would place the Cardinals in the middle of the pack, akin to where they finished in 2020.

With a 17th game added to the schedule, it gives the Cardinals and other teams an additional chance to hit their Over/Under mark. So if you bet the over and the Cards are sitting at 8-8 entering the final game of the season, you can still profit with the Over.

So, will the Cardinals best their 8-game Over/Under in 2021?

Today’s post will provide a few tidbits.

1. Analyzing the Arizona Cardinals Roster

The Cardinals are all-in for 2021. We know this because they signed a plethora of old faces, all of whom are former Pro Bowlers. Names like J.J. Watt, Malcolm Butler, Rodney Hudson (trade), and A.J. Green have put together stellar NFL careers.

The Cardinals also replaced departed running back Kenyan Drake with James Conner, a solid but injury-prone RB2.

Conner, however, provides an excellent complement to budding star running back Chase Edmonds. While Edmonds can threaten off-tackle and catch the ball out of the backfield, Conner excels between the tackles.

The question regarding the Cardinals’ roster is this: Can the 10-plus year veterans continue to play at a high level?

J.J. Watt has declined in recent seasons. However, he has declined in J.J. Watt statistics. Meaning he’s still performing at a higher-than-average level. Ditto for Hudson, listed as an All-Pro in 2019. Opponents targeted Butler often, but he continued to hold his own as a CB1 in 2020 with the Titans.

Green, however, has stumbled since 2018. And thus far, he does not provide a decent WR2 option to supersede Christian Kirk or replace Larry Fitzgerald. The latter of whom has yet to decide on returning for another season or retiring.

Please Note:
In short, the Cardinals boast a roster that would’ve won the Super Bowl 5 seasons ago. Now full of aging veterans, general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury are banking on it. Because if the Cardinals don’t see the playoffs in 2021, both will receive the pink slip come January.

It’s playoffs or bust for the Cardinals in 2021.

2. Strengths of the Arizona Cardinals in 2021

The Cardinals had one of the most explosive offenses in football until Thanksgiving, when quarterback Kyler Murray sprained his AC joint. Predictably, Murray wasn’t the same after the injury, and the offense collectively struggled.

Now back at 100 percent, expect to see the Cardinals’ offense once again become who they were before Murray went down.

And heading into Year 3, expect Murray to make yet another leap.

They already have the best receiver in football with DeAndre Hopkins, and if the Cardinals draft a legit WR2 in the first or second round of the NFL Draft, expect more explosive plays in 2021.

Their defense was also going strong in 2020 until the injury bug hit the defensive line. Before the rash of injuries, the line got a good push on opposing offenses, and their talented linebackers converged often, especially in the pass rush. If the line remains healthy in 2021, watch out.

Please Note:
adding Watt to the mix and getting Chandler Jones back will help. Also, pass rush specialist Dennis Gardeck returns, and will probably replace Haason Reddick, who departed for the Carolina Panthers.

Expect even more from PFWA All-Rookie Team Member Isaiah Simmons as he steps into a starting role. Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson have potential to become one of the top safety duos in football.

3. Weaknesses of the Arizona Cardinals

The running back duo of Conner and Edmonds is hit or miss. If Conner remains healthy, expect an upgrade from Kenyan Drake. However, if injuries hit Conner, expect the Cardinals to go one-dimensional.

Chase Edmonds is a great back, but he has proven incapable of carrying the full load. The other backs on the squad have little playing experience.

Also, who will draw coverage away from Hopkins?

The Cardinals can’t expect Green to do this, with him having underperformed or being hit with injuries since 2018. Maxx Williams is their most talented tight end, and he has a little over 80 receptions since his rookie season in 2015.

They also remain weak at cornerback.

  • They re-signed Robert Alford, but he hasn’t played in 2 seasons because of injuries.
  • Byron Murphy is not the same player when put on an island.
  • And Butler can only cover one side of the field.

The Cardinals need one more solid corner.

Also, their special teams was one of the worst in football in 2020. Both punter Andy Lee and new kicker Matt Prater have a combined age of 75. And both struggled in 2020, with Lee putting up some of the worst numbers among punters and Prater converting on just 75 percent of his field goals.

Want more fun?

Prater converted a meager 58 percent of his field goals from 40-plus yards.

The Cardinals still lack a solid return man. And don’t expect them to burn a draft pick on one. The return game struggled in 2020, and often they placed key players in such situations, which is never a good combination.

4. The Arizona Cardinals Schedule

The Cardinals play one of the toughest schedules in 2021, and it starts with 6 games in their own division. The Seahawks and Rams made the playoffs in 2020, and the Cardinals finished 1-3 against them.

We can give the San Francisco 49ers a free pass here, despite their 7-9 record.

The injury bug hit the team hard on both sides of the ball and they still squeaked out 7 wins. Not to mention, COVID forced them to play a few home games in Arizona.

The Cardinals also have the misfortune of playing the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, 2 teams who will threaten for the playoffs in 2021. The Packers have finished 13-3 in each of the past 2 seasons, and the Vikings dealt with opt outs and inexperience on defense. Expect them to be better.

If that wasn’t enough, their 17th game comes against the team who finished in third place in the AFC North: the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns will contend to make The Leap from playoff contender to Super Bowl contender in 2021.

So expect the Cardinals to have a tough time on the road.

They get a break, however, with the Carolina Panthers, entering just Year 2 of their rebuild. Plus, expect little from the rest of the NFC North, as the Chicago Bears will turn to Andy Dalton in what figures to be a bridge season. And the Lions have among the league’s weakest rosters.

Please Note:
The Lions also play the AFC South, comprising the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. They also clash with the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, formidable but beatable opponents.

The final opponent to discuss, the Dallas Cowboys, are the wild card. On one hand, the Cowboys have one of the strongest offenses in football. The returning Dak Prescott strengthens them. On the other, their defense remains full of holes. And one draft won’t fix them.

5. Can the Arizona Cardinals Best Their Over/Under?

The Cardinals did enough in free agency to fill most of their gaps. And they did so with players who accomplished big things during their careers.

Most notably, J.J. Watt.

If the old guys have another season in them, the Cardinals may surprise.

However, their schedule remains tough. Expect them to win no more than 2 intra-divisional games in 2021. This means they must finish 7-4 in their remaining games.

On paper, they look good against the Panthers, Jaguars, Texans, Bears, and Lions. Expect to win or at least come close to winning those games.

Games against the Browns and Packers will test them more than any other outside the division. You can even add the Vikings and Cowboys to the mix. Finally, they’re evenly matched against the Titans and Colts.

Please Note:
Out of these 6 games, expect 2 wins, which again places them at 2-4. This means they MUST finish 5-0 against the weaker teams to have a shot at encroaching the Over/Under.

Now, these are just predictions, and a lot can happen between now and kickoff in September. But from a realistic standpoint, the Cardinals are a high-risk, high-reward bet for the Over/Under.

Conclusion

The Cardinals are a better football team. Problem is, the teams they’re playing have improved.

  • The Cowboys are better with Dak.
  • The Browns have fixed their defense.
  • And all 3 division rivals have strengthened their rosters.
  • Plus, the Colts got their man at QB1 in Carson Wentz.

And we don’t even need to talk about the Packers and perhaps the Vikings. The Cardinals have competition, even if they boast a stronger roster for 2021.

But is it strong enough?

What are your thoughts? Are the Cardinals a good Over/Under wager at the NFL betting sites for 2021, or are they still the same old, underperforming Arizona Cardinals? Tell us your thoughts in the comments. We cannot wait to read your opinion.

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.