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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Sep 9, 2013 - 8:05 am

Arizona Sports' 2013 Cardinals and NFL Predictions

It's here!

The 2013 NFL season is upon us, and here in Arizona, that means a new regime. Steve Keim took the reins of the general manager position after Rod Graves was shown the door. Keim hired Bruce Arians as head coach and the two engineered a roster rebuild that brings 26 new players to the desert.

We've asked 19 football-crazed members of the staff at Arizona Sports 620, ArizonaSports.com and News Talk 92.3 KTAR to peer into their crystal balls and predict not only what will happen with the 2013 Arizona Cardinals, but the rest of the National Football League as well.

Enjoy, and happy football season!


Arizona Cardinals

What will the Cardinals' record be in 2013?

8-8: 6 votes

7-9: 5 votes

6-10: 7 votes

5-11: 1 vote

None of our 17 respondents has the Cardinals achieving a winning record, and none has them reaching the postseason. Bryan Gibberman, the producer of The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta, has the Cards going just 5-11.


Who will be the Cardinals' leading rusher in 2013?

Rashard Mendenhall: 15 votes

Stepfan Taylor: 2 votes

Ryan Williams: 2 votes

Mendenhall, the free agent pickup from Pittsburgh, garnered the most votes with 15, including one from Arizona Sports tech director Jarrett Carlen, who thinks the veteran will run for 1,104 yards. Four panelists picked Mendenhall to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark and one picked the rookie Taylor to accomplish the feat.


How many TD passes will Carson Palmer throw in 2013?

17 TD passes: 1 vote

18 TD passes: 2 votes

22 TD passes: 1 vote

23 TD passes: 1 vote

24 TD passes: 4 votes

25 TD passes: 1 vote

27 TD passes: 1 vote

28 TD passes: 4 votes

31 TD passes: 1 vote

33 TD passes: 1 vote

KTAR.com's Carter Nacke has Palmer on the low end of the spectrum with 17 touchdowns while Paul Calvisi has the veteran pegged for 33 scoring strikes. A couple things to consider: Palmer's career-high is 32 and Cardinal quarterbacks combined to throw 11 TDs last season.


How many sacks will the Cardinals allow in 2013?

Our answers ranged from 20 on the low end (from Arizona Sports 620 executive producer Ryan Lindsay) to 46 on the high end (from ArizonaSports.com's Jules Tompkins.) The good news is, all 19 respondents believe the Cardinals will improve on the 58 sacks they allowed a season ago.



How many receiving yards will Larry Fitzgerald have in 2013?

Eighteen of our 19 respondents believe that Fitz will have a bounce-back season in 2013 after having just 798 yards last year. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the belief that the Cardinals finally have a quarterback that can get #11 the football again.

The one panelist who doesn't think Fitzgerald will get a least 1,000 yards? Ryan Lindsay, who has got him pegged for only 900. Jules Tompkins is the most optimistic about Fitz's prospects and projects a monster season of 1,550 yards, which would be a career high.

The average number of yards projected by our crew: 1,210.


Who will have the most QB sacks for the Cardinals in 2013, and how many will he have?

Calais Campbell: 10 votes

John Abraham: 8 votes

Daryl Washington: 1 vote

This category was a three-horse race. Nine of our panelists think veteran defensive end Calais Campbell will lead the team with anywhere from 7.5 to 11 sacks. Eight others believe that veteran pass rush specialist John Abraham will lead with a total ranging from seven to 11 sacks. Only Bryan Gibberman thinks linebacker Daryl Washington will again lead the team in sacks -- D-Wash had nine a year ago.


One bold Cardinals prediction for 2013?

Franz: Cardinals will make the playoffs...but not until the 2014 season.

Calvisi: Cardinals will sweep the 49ers.

Bickley: Cardinals will enter the Week 17 still in playoff contention.

Marotta: Cardinals will have a winning road record.

Gambo: Carson Palmer won't be healthy for 16 games, Drew Stanton will start at least two games.

Burns: Cardinals will not get swept by Seattle and San Francisco -- they'll win at least one of those games.

Powell: Outside linebackers coach James Bettcher will be abducted by aliens during the second quarter of the fifth game of the season.

Bloom: The Cardinals will be 4-4 at the midway point of the season.

Grialou: Ryan Williams will play in all 16 games this year.

Green: Rob Housler will be second on the team in TD receptions.

Dulberg: Arizona will lead the league in takeaways.

Bassett: Patrick Peterson will have six touchdown receptions.

Nacke: Carson Palmer will make Cards fans believe in QBs again.

Lindsay: Tyrann Mathieu will be the Defensive Rookie of the Year in the NFL.

Byrd: Heading into Week 17, the Cardinals will still be in Wild Card contention.

Gibberman: By the end of the year, Andre Ellington will be the Cardinals' best RB.

Carlen: Cardinals will beat the 49ers and Seahawks at least once each.

Tompkins: Rob Housler will lead the team in TD receptions.


NFL Predictions

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers: 10 votes

Seattle Seahawks: 9 votes

No real surprise here...San Francisco and Seattle are two of the big favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl in New Jersey come February. Interestingly, 10 of our panelists think the Cardinals will finish third in the division, while nine see Bruce Arians' team bringing up the rear.


NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: 12 votes

New Orleans Saints: 6 votes

Carolina Panthers: 1 vote

The Falcons are once again the popular pick in the South, but almost a third of our respondents think Sean Payton's return to the Big Easy will mean a division crown for the Saints. The only person to pick Carolina? Bryan Gibberman.


NFC North

Green Bay Packers: 18 votes

Detroit Lions: 1 vote

Almost unanimous! The only panelist to go out on a limb and pick a team other than Green Bay was KTAR digital honcho Tyler Bassett who likes the Detroit Lions this season.


NFC East

New York Giants: 6 votes

Philadelphia Eagles: 6 votes

Washington Redskins: 4 votes

Dallas Cowboys: 3 votes

The NFC East was ultra-competitive last season, and our panel expects the same in 2013. Six are buying what Chip Kelly is selling in Philadelphia, but all four teams received votes to win the East crown.


NFC Champions

Seattle Seahawks: 8 votes

San Francisco 49ers: 4 votes

Atlanta Falcons: 3 votes

Green Bay Packers: 2 votes

New Orleans Saints: 1 vote

Washington Redskins: 1 vote

The strength lies in the West, with 12 of our 19 voters saying either Seattle or the Niners will represent the conference in the Super Bowl. New Orleans got some love from Arizona Sports producer Jordan Byrd and tech director Jarrett Carlen likes RGIII to lead the Redskins to their first Super Bowl since the 1991 season.


AFC West

Denver Broncos: 19 votes

Unanimous! Nobody was scared off by Von Miller's six-game suspension, and it's hard to argue after Peyton Manning and the Broncos dismantled the Baltimore Ravens on opening night.



AFC South

Houston Texans: 16 votes

Indianapolis Colts: 3 votes

Sixteen of our panelists like the Texans to complete the AFC South three-peat, while Dave Burns, Dave Dulberg and Jules "Don't Call Me Dave" Tompkins like Andrew Luck and the Colts to continue their ascent.


AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals: 14 votes

Baltimore Ravens: 5 votes

Interestingly, only five like the defending Super Bowl champs to win the North, while 14 are going with the always-improving Bengals. And now that John Skelton has been cut, their chances probably just increased. Too soon?


AFC East

New England Patriots: 16 votes

Miami Dolphins: 2 votes

Buffalo Bills: 1 vote

Despite losing Wes Welker to free agency and Aaron Hernandez to incarceration, the vast majority of our panel is going with the Pats to rule the AFC East. Vince Marotta and Tyler Bassett both like the Miami Dolphins to surprise, while Arizona Sports' Chuck Powell thinks it's the Buffalo Bills who will reign supreme. Notice nobody picked the Jets?


AFC Champions

Denver Broncos: 12 votes

Houston Texans: 3 votes

Cincinnati Bengals: 2 votes

New England Patriots: 2 votes

The power lies in the West in the AFC, too. Twelve of our panelists like the Orange Crush to get back to the promised land for the first time since John Elway hung up the cleats.


Super Bowl Champions

Denver Broncos: 5 votes

Seattle Seahawks: 5 votes

San Francisco 49ers: 4 votes

Atlanta Falcons: 2 votes

Green Bay Packers: 1 vote

Houston Texans: 1 vote

New England Patriots: 1 vote

The Seahawks and the Broncos both got the most love from the panel. In fact six picked the two to meet in the Super Bowl -- by far the most common prediction. John Gambadoro and Doug Franz both like the Atlanta Falcons to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in their team history.


MVP

Peyton Manning - QB, Denver: 9 votes

Aaron Rodgers - QB, Green Bay: 3 votes

Russell Wilson - QB, Seattle: 3 votes

Drew Brees - QB, New Orleans: 2 votes

Tom Brady - QB, New England: 1 vote

Colin Kaepernick - QB, San Francisco: 1 vote

Think the NFL is a QB-driven league? Six different signal callers got votes in this category, while no other position received a vote -- even though the reigning MVP, Adrian Peterson, is a running back.


Offensive Player of the Year

Peyton Manning - QB, Denver: 6 votes

Aaron Rodgers - QB, Green Bay: 4 votes

Drew Brees - QB, New Orleans: 2 votes

Calvin Johnson - WR, Detroit: 2 votes

Dez Bryant - WR, Dallas: 1 vote

LeSean McCoy - RB, Philadelphia: 1 vote

Adrian Peterson - RB, Minnesota: 1 vote

Matt Ryan - QB, Atlanta: 1 vote

Russell Wilson - QB, Seattle: 1 vote

A lot more variety in this category, including votes for two different wide receivers. Calvisi likes Dallas' Dez Bryant to break out, while Powell and Arizona Sports' Adam Green like Detroit's Calvin Johnson to pick up where he left off in 2012. No wide receiver has won the award since San Francisco's Jerry Rice in 1987.


Defensive Player of the Year

J.J. Watt - DE, Houston: 6 votes

Luke Kuechly - LB, Carolina: 5 votes

Geno Atkins - DT, Cincinnati: 1 vote

Jarvis Jones - LB, Pittsburgh: 1 vote

Chris Long - DE, St. Louis: 1 vote

Clay Matthews - DE, Green Bay: 1 vote

Richard Sherman - CB, Seattle: 1 vote

Aldon Smith - OLB, San Francisco: 1 vote

Patrick Willis - LB, San Francisco: 1 vote

Six panelists like Watt to repeat as the DPOY, while five like Carolina tackling machine Luke Kuechly to become the first Panther ever to win the hardware. Nobody has repeated as the winner since Lawrence Taylor in 1981 and 1982. Gutsiest pick? Jules Tompkins likes Pittsburgh rookie Jarvis Jones.


Offensive Rookie of the Year

EJ Manuel - QB, Buffalo: 8 votes

Tavon Austin - WR, St. Louis: 6 votes

Tyler Eifert - TE, Cincinnati: 2 votes

Cordarrelle Patterson - WR, Minnesota: 2 votes

Montee Ball - RB, Denver: 1 vote

Eddie Lacy - RB, Green Bay: 1 vote

A quarterback has won this award three years in a row and four out of the last five and eight of our panelists feel that trend will continue with their selection of Buffalo's EJ Manuel.


Defensive Rookie of the Year

Jarvis Jones - LB, Pittsburgh: 7 votes

Tyrann Mathieu - DB, Arizona: 3 votes

Dion Jordan - OLB, Miami: 2 votes

Alec Ogletree - LB, St. Louis: 2 votes

Ziggy Ansah - DE, Detroit: 1 vote

Barkevious Mingo - LB, Cleveland: 1 vote

Eric Reid - S, San Francisco: 1 vote

Sheldon Richardson - DT, NY Jets: 1 vote

Kenny Vaccaro - S, New Orleans: 1 vote

Linebackers have won this award in nine of the last 10 years. The only exception was Detroit DT Ndamukong Suh, who won the hardware in 2010. Third round pick Tyrann Mathieu of the Cardinals got three votes and has received plenty of recognition from the national media during the preseason. It's also interesting to note that three LSU products (Mathieu, Mingo and Reid) got votes. Yeah, they play some pretty good defense in Baton Rouge.


Coach of the Year

Chip Kelly, Philadelphia: 6 votes

Sean Payton, New Orleans: 4 votes

Pete Carroll, Seattle: 2 votes

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati: 2 votes

Andy Reid, Kansas City: 2 votes

John Fox, Denver: 1 vote

Doug Marrone, Buffalo: 1 vote

Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis: 1 vote

Almost 38 percent of our respondents think the brash, offensive-minded Chip Kelly will succeed in his first year with the Eagles after spearheading the "fast-break" offensive show at the University of Oregon for the last four years.


One bold NFL prediction for the 2013 season?

Wolfley: The Ravens will set an NFL record for sacks in a season.

Franz: The Dolphins won't be eliminated from playoff contention until Week 17.

Calvisi: Defensive coordinators devise game plans to keep Colin Kaepernick in the pocket and we discover that the SF QB can't read NFL coverages. Kaepernick becomes the next Tim Tebow.

Bickley: Chip Kelly leads the Eagles to the playoffs.

Marotta: Miami wins the AFC East.

Gambo: Jets fire Rex Ryan and hire Bill Cowher.

Burns: Colin Kaepernick takes a step back.

Powell: Aaron Hernandez escapes prison and catches 11 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown for the Bears as the mysterious, mustachioed, blonde-haired Deitr Von Kamp.

Bloom: Chip Kelly's offense leads the Eagles to the playoffs and Philly is the team that keeps the streak alive -- 11 straight years a team goes from worst to first.

Grialou: Jason Garrett will be fired midseason by the Dallas Cowboys.

Green: The Jacksonville Jaguars will find their QB of the future -- and it will be Matt Scott.

Dulberg: Tampa Bay's Doug Martin will lead the league in rushing.

Bassett: Saints make the NFC Championship Game and will have the MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.

Nacke: The Raiders will win one game. Oakland will not riot.

Lindsay: Rex Ryan will be fired before the end of the season.

Byrd: After Rex Ryan is fired in NY, he'll be hired to replace Jason Garrett in Dallas.

Gibberman: The Bills will be decent.

Tompkins: The Philadelphia Eagles will go 2-14.

Carlen: The Bills will make the playoffs.


Arizona Sports Staff Predictions

Wolf | Franz | Calvisi | Bickley | Marotta
Gambo | Burns | Powell | Bloom | Grialou
Green | Dulberg | Bassett | Nacke | Lindsay
Byrd | Gibberman | Tompkins | Carlen

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