The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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2020 Arizona Cardinals and NFL Predictions

Consider this our accountability board for the 2020 season. Below, you'll find every meaningful prediction for the Cardinals and NFL for the 2020 season including:

  • Game by Game predictions for the Cardinals
  • Final record for the Cardinals
  • The Expectations Game for 12 Individual Cardinals players
  • NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl predictions
  • MVP, DPOY, OROY and DROY predictions

Let's get this party started.

The Expectations Game

I've listed 6 Cardinals offensive players and 6 Cardinals defensive players and predicted whether I believe they will meet, exceed or fall short of their pre-season expectations.

  • Kyler Murray - Meet - Murray is expected to be a darkhorse MVP candidate and while I don't believe he will fulfill that hype, I think Murray's on field play will meet the expectations of being a franchise QB for years to come.
  • DeAndre Hopkins - Fall Short - Hopkins has proven to be an elite WR, this isn't a case for Nuk being overrated. Rather, I think statistically Hopkins will fall short of the incredibly high expectations while still having a hugely positive impact on the offense.
  • Kenyan Drake - Meet - Drake showed the ability to thrive in this offense last year and while some are expecting him to add even more over the course of a full season, I think Drake is well positioned to meet expectations of being a playmaking, high end NFL RB.
  • Christian Kirk - Exceed - I think Kirk, if healthy, will lead the Cardinals in receiving yards. Last year he was shadowed by the opponents top CB more often than not and this year he could often face the team's #3 WR. That should lead to a huge boost in his production.
  • Andy Isabella - Exceed - Catching a football repeatedly in an NFL game is the bar for Isabella. I think he'll clear that, end up with 30-40 catches and 400-500 yards, falling well short of the 2nd round expectations but exceeding his minimal season expectations.
  • DJ Humphries - Fall Short - Humphries finally stayed healthy last season and was an average NFL LT. This year, the expectations after a new deal are to stay healthy and be the driving force behind an improved OL. I'm doubtful that either will happen.
  • Chandler Jones - Meet - I don't think Jones will break the single season sack record as he has discussed but there's no doubt he can be amongst the leagues leaders again in sacks. Jones is as bankable as pass rushers get in the NFL.
  • Patrick Peterson - Exceed - Expectations have dropped for P2. Once expected to be the best cover corner in football, Peterson is now just expected to be above average. At age 30, with a last chance at a major free agent contract, I think P2 delivers a vintage performance.
  • Budda Baker - Fall Short - The contract Baker signed was more about what he did in years 2-4 of the deal. There will be a lot of eyes on Baker and while I think he makes his fair share of plays, I don't think he delivers an All Pro caliber season, the new bar for him after a record breaking safety contract.
  • Isaiah Simmons - Fall Short - Many Cardinals fans expect Simmons to be a great ILB, pass rusher, TE defender, box safety and tone setter as a rookie. With a truncated off season and an awkward fit initially at ILB, I think Simmons flashes but falls short of the lofty rookie season expectations many have set for him.
  • Devon Kennard - Meet - Kennard is basically expected to show up and take advantage of playing opposite Chandler Jones. While I don't think Kennard gets close to double digit sacks, I think he delivers as being a reliable presence on the opposite side.
  • Jordan Phillips - Exceed - Phillips doesn't get nearly the same coverage as the Cardinals other big offseason additions but his presence and ability to collapse the pocket could be the driving force behind a much improved defense.

Cardinals Season Predictions

Wins: vs. Washington, @ Carolina, @ New York Jets, vs. Seattle, vs. Miami, @ New York Giants

Losses: @ San Francisco, vs. Detroit, @ Dallas, vs. Buffalo, @ Seattle, @ New England, vs. Los Angeles Rams, vs. Philadelphia, vs. San Francisco, @ Los Angeles Rams.

Analysis: The Cardinals season will face an immediate stress test against a tough 49ers team. That Week 1 loss will prove to be telling for the rest of the season as so many Cardinals openers have proven in recent years. An overwhelmed offensive line and overmatched secondary will prove to be the undoing of a promising Cardinals season. The Cardinals will especially struggle in the second half of the season when their final 9 games feature seven teams with playoff caliber rosters. The best case for the Cardinals avoiding a six win season comes with avoiding a sweep by the Rams. While they could split or even win that series, I think this Cardinals team under Kliff Kingsbury still has too many questions to be considered favored over Sean McVay and the Rams. While their record may end up disappointing, I think the Cardinals season will be filled with many bright spots as they continue their ascent from the depths of the NFL's worst in 2018.

Final Record: 6-10

NFL Playoff Predictions

AFC East: New England

AFC North: Pittsburgh

AFC South: Houston

AFC West: Kansas City

AFC Wild Cards: Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland

AFC Championship: Pittsburgh over Kansas City

NFC East: Philadelphia

NFC North: Minnesota

NFC South: Atlanta

NFC West: San Francisco

NFC Wild Cards: Green Bay, New Orleans, Los Angeles Rams

NFC Championship: Minnesota over Philadelphia

Super Bowl: Pittsburgh over Minnesota

MVP: Ben Roethlisberger

DPOY: Aaron Donald

OROY: Joe Burrow

DROY: Chase Young

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