Lets skip the foreplay and get right to the action. Below is my game by game prediction for the 2020 Arizona Cardinals season.
Week 1: at San Francisco 49ers
- Arizona hasn't started the season on the road since 2017 and hasn't opened the season on the road against a division opponent since 2013 in St. Louis. An early test for everybody on the Cardinals but its truly baptism by fire for rookie Isaiah Simmons who will have to rely on virtually preparing for George Kittle until training camp. The defending NFC Champs will provide a litmus test very early on for what I consider to be an underwhelming offensive line for the Cardinals.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 27 - 19 (0-1)
Week 2: Washington Redskins
- Cardinals fans will get Steve Wilks and Sam Bradford flashbacks as the Redskins were the harbingers of doom opening up the 2018 season by beating Arizona in Glendale. This game should be different. While Chase Young could terrorize as a rookie, Dwayne Haskins should delight the Cardinals secondary with misfires, interceptions and perhaps even leaving the field before the game is over. Expect this to be the kind of Cardinals offense everyone has been hyped to see.
- Result: Cardinals Win 33-10 (1-1)
Week 3: Detroit Lions
- Man, if the Cardinals don't play the Lions again for another 100 years, would anyone complain? Welcome to the worlds most boring "rivalry". This is the fourth straight year the two teams will meet and somehow the Lions own the Cardinals with a record of 2-0-1. In an alternate reality, Detroitd finishes the job in Week 1 last year and Kliff Kingsbury's house is getting on TV for different reasons this year: because he sold it after being one and done in the NFL. But Detroit Detroit-ed all over themselves and Kliff isn't taking any chances this year.
- Result: Cardinals Win 24-20 (2-1)
Week 4: at Carolina Panthers
- Kyle Allen and Greg Olsen are mercifully gone as the two teamed up to hand the Cardinals one of their worst losses of the season last year at State Farm Stadium. This year, the Cardinals are on the road against a weird Panthers team now led by Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals should get their first road W of the year giving the Panthers who are Luke Kuechly-less a taste of their own medicine from last year.
- Result: Arizona Wins 31-18 (3-1)
Week 5: at New York Jets
- The Jets were 7-6 last season when Sam Darnold was starting at QB. The numbers were even better once Darnold fully shook off the effects of missing the first month because of mono; the Jets were 6-2 in their final eight. This is a long trip in the middle of a long road trip and its very deceiving on paper. Sam Darnold finds a way to eek out a win against Kyler Murray.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 29-28 (3-2)
Week 6: at Dallas Cowboys (Monday Night Football)
- The first non-Thursday Night Football prime time game since the Cardinals went to Dallas on a Monday night and lost to the Cowboys in 2017 aka the Brice Butler game, who the Cardinals would foolishly sign later that year. Dallas's offense is a problem. The Cowboys defense could be a problem, depending on their reclamation projects of Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith. Kyler Murray should be pumped, playing in the Lone Star state after having arguably the greatest high school career in the vaunted history of Texas high school football. Its not enough and the road pains continue for the Cardinals.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 22-13 (3-3)
Week 7: Seattle Seahawks
- Unless the Seahawks bring back Jadeveon Clowney, I'm not sure how intimidating of a team they will be in 2020. But then again, Russell Wilson is always going to find a way to make them formidable. After a rough road stretch, the Cardinals needs to make a statement in this game to try and get their mojo back for the season. At home, with a hell bent Kyler Murray, I think they do it.
- Result: Cardinals Win 31-27 (4-3)
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Miami
- The real question here is will they be facing Fitzmagic or Tua? Brian Flores's team is quickly earning the respect of everyone around the NFL as one you don't want to underestimate. But at home, off a bye week, as long as Kliff doesn't make the same bye week mistake he made last year when the Cardinals were slaughtered by the Rams after Kliff admittedly didn't handle the off week well, the Cardinals should jump right back into the NFC playoff picture.
- Result: Cardinals Win 40-29 (5-3)
Week 10: Buffalo
- Sean McDermott is the exact kind of head coach licking his chops trying to solve Kliff Kingsbury. The Bills do everything the right way, win ugly, exceed expectations and yet can't get a fraction of the attention the Cardinals did after winning 5 games last year. This is the first home dud of the year and I expect McDermott to win his chess match with K2.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 23-14 (5-4)
Week 11: at Seattle (Thursday Night Football)
- Short week after a physical game? Not a great combo for a finesse offense. I don't see the Cardinals sweeping any divisional opponent this year so I'm taking Seattle in the rematch and the Cardinals deal with some real adversity on the season for the first time.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 30-22 (5-5)
Week 12: at New England Patriots
- Cardinals fans would've really liked to get their hands on New England earlier in the year. Its going to be a bumpy transition away from Tom Brady but by this point in the season the Patriots will have figured some things out. Its hard to type the words Jarret Stidham and N'Keal Harry take down Vance Joseph but that's what I think happens. The Patriots officially put us on Vance Joseph watch as the beleaguered defensive coordinator feels destined to meet his McCoy-esque fate.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 24-19 (5-6)
Week 13: Los Angeles Rams
- The demise of the Rams has been greatly exaggerated but this is a game the Cardinals have to want badly. After being swept by the Rams last year, the Cardinals will need to win this game to save their season. This is a real test for Kyler Murray in year two and I think the Cardinals franchise QB comes up clutch with a monster performance and the Cardinals bounce back into playoff contention.
- Result: Cardinals Win 33-20 (6-6)
Week: 14: at New York Giants
- The Cardinals won this game last year in New Jersey and appear to be a few steps ahead of the Giants in their franchise's respective paths. I wouldn't expect Chase Edmonds to put up three more TD's in this game but I do expect the east coast media to once again disrespect Kyler Murray by claiming Daniel Jones as the superior young QB. Thats all Murray and the Cardinals need as they learn to turn these kind of slights into fuel for their fire.
- Result: Cardinals Win 38-30 (7-6)
Week 15: Philadelphia
- A massive home game against a team the Cardinals could likely be battling for a playoff spot in the expanded field of 2020. This is a game where the Cardinals are going to wish their offensive line had been upgraded in the offseason. Its December, the playoffs are in sight against a more experienced, tough opponent...and the offensive line lets the Cardinals down. December football is won in the trenches and my little slice of heaven on OLine Island is filling up fast with angry Cardinals fans.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 27 - 23 (7-7)
Week 16: San Francisco
- If my scenario unfolds, the Cardinals will face a need to win out against two division opponents in order to make the postseason. The 49ers took care of business against Arizona in Week 1 and I would expect them to finish the sweep in Glendale in Week 16. OLine Island is now one of the most heavily populated bits of land in the greater Phoenix area. And Vance Joseph doesn't survive the season.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 30-20 (7-8)
Week 17: at Los Angeles Rams
- A desperate Cardinals team cans Vance Joseph the week before the season ends to try and spark a Week 17 miracle against the Rams. Facing enormous tie breaking odds, the Cardinals need to win for any chance at sneaking into the playoffs. After beating McVay and Co by double digits earlier in the year, the Rams make it deja vu all over again by sending the Cardinals home with an L in the final week of the season, just like last year.
- Result: Cardinals Lose 36-31 (7-9)
Final Results: Cardinals 7-9