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The 2017 Arizona Sports Cardinals/NFL Season Preview

Image: Erin Maloney/Arizona Sports

At long last, the 2017 NFL season is here!

For fans of the Arizona Cardinals, it’s a chance to forget about, well, a forgettable 2016 season in which their team fell short of astronomical expectations placed on it.

For the rest of the league, it’s a chance to try and knock off the rolling locomotive of the New England Patriots, who completed a historic 25-point comeback to win Super Bowl LI in Houston — the franchise’s fifth title in the Belichick-Brady era. No other team has won more than two Lombardi Trophies in that span.

The on-air staff of 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station put its collective prognostication cap on and has provided insight on the prospects for the Cardinals and what the rest of the league could like.

We’ll start with a look at what the guys think about the 2017 edition of the #Birdgang.



11-5: 4 votes
10-6: 5 votes
9-7: 1 vote
 

All of our panelists have the Cardinals notching a winning record, which would be the team’s fourth in five years under head coach Bruce Arians.



Yes: 2 votes
No: 8 votes
 

Of our panel, only Bertrand Berry and Dave Burns think Johnson will make history in becoming the third running back to accomplish the feat. Burnsy added background.

“At first I said no. But after thinking about it, I decided to backspace and delete my initial answer and say yes. B.A. is such a creative play caller and the commitment is there to involve him extensively. I think he’ll be close enough by the end of the season that they will make a concerted effort to get him those numbers,” he said.


Average answer: 2,032
 

While only 20 percent of the panel thinks the third-year back will get 1,000 each rushing and receiving, the average projection still has him going over 2,000 total yards.

Johnson led the NFL with 2,118 yards from scrimmage a year ago, but fell 121 yards short of 1,000 in the passing game.



Markus Golden: 5.5 votes
Chandler Jones: 4.5 votes
 

The Cardinals are blessed with two dynamic edge pass rushers. In fact, Golden and Jones are the only teammates who both had double-digit QB sacks last season.

Doug Franz predicted that each outside linebacker will have 12 sacks, thus the half-vote.

Respondents who chose Golden predict an average of 14.2 sacks. Those who chose Jones project 14.3.

Either way, that’s a lot of sacks!



Robert Nkemdiche: 3 votes
Jaron Brown: 2 votes
Budda Baker: 1 vote
Justin Bethel: 1 vote
Jermaine Gresham: 1 vote
Josh Mauro: 1 vote
Olsen Pierre: 1 vote
 

As you can see, there was a wide variety of answers given by the panel, but three (Franz, Gambo, Lapinski) are banking on Nkemdiche, the physically gifted defensive tackle from Ole Miss, who is entering his second year in the league.



Offensive Line: 6 votes
Wide Receivers: 2 votes
Cornerbacks: 1 vote
Inside Linebackers: 1 vote
 

The majority picks the offensive line — and based on a roster move this week, the Cardinals may agree. Steve Keim went out and signed veteran guard Alex Boone, who should initially provide depth, but most believe he’ll eventually take over for starter Evan Boehm. Protecting Carson Palmer is of paramount importance every season, so the onus falls on this group to perform.



Jaron Brown: 5 votes
John Brown: 5 votes
 

Even though the team says he’s ready to go and despite his two-touchdown performance in a preseason win over Atlanta, there is still a lot of concern about John Brown’s future. When healthy, he’s the Cardinals’ second-best receiver, as evidenced by a 1,000-yard season on his résumé. Jaron Brown, who himself is coming off of ACL surgery, has never had more than 22 catches in a single NFL season.


National Football Conference

 

Host NFC West NFC East NFC North NFC South NFC Wild Card NFC Wild Card NFC Championship
Bertrand Berry Cardinals Giants Packers Falcons Panthers Seahawks Packers over Cardinals
Dan Bickley Seahawks Cowboys Packers Buccaneers Cardinals Giants Cowboys over Seahawks
Dave Burns Seahawks Eagles Packers Buccaneers Cardinals Vikings Packers over Seahawks
Paul Calvisi Cardinals Giants Packers Falcons Seahawks Vikings Packers over Seahawks
Doug Franz Seahawks Cowboys Packers Panthers Cardinals Giants Packers over Seahawks
John Gambadoro Seahawks Giants Packers Falcons Cardinals Buccaneers Packers over Falcons
Mike Jurecki Seahawks Giants Packers Falcons Cardinals Cowboys Seahawks over Falcons
Luke Lapinski Seahawks Giants Packers Panthers Cardinals Cowboys Seahawks over Giants
Vince Marotta Seahawks Giants Packers Buccaneers Falcons Cardinals Packers over Giants
Ron Wolfley Cardinals Giants Vikings Panthers Seahawks Packers Panthers over Packers

American Football Conference

 

Host AFC West AFC East AFC North AFC South AFC Wild Card AFC Wild Card AFC Championship
Bertrand Berry Raiders Patriots Steelers Texans Chiefs Titans Patriots over Raiders
Dan Bickley Raiders Patriots Steelers Texans Chiefs Bengals Raiders over Steelers
Dave Burns Chiefs Patriots Steelers Titans Raiders Texans Patriots over Steelers
Paul Calvisi Chiefs Patriots Steelers Texans Raiders Ravens Patriots over Steelers
Doug Franz Raiders Patriots Steelers Texans Chiefs Ravens Patriots over Raiders
John Gambadoro Raiders Patriots Steelers Titans Chiefs Texans Steelers over Patriots
Mike Jurecki Chiefs Patriots Steelers Titans Raiders Texans Patriots over Steelers
Luke Lapinski Chiefs Patriots Steelers Titans Raiders Ravens Patriots over Steelers
Vince Marotta Raiders Patriots Steelers Titans Chiefs Broncos Patriots over Steelers
Ron Wolfley Raiders Patriots Steelers Texans Ravens Chiefs Patriots over Steelers

Super Bowl LII

 

Host Super Bowl Champ OVER Runner-up
Bertrand Berry OVER
Dan Bickley OVER
Dave Burns OVER
Paul Calvisi OVER
Doug Franz OVER
John Gambadoro OVER
Mike Jurecki OVER
Luke Lapinski OVER
Vince Marotta OVER
Ron Wolfley OVER

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