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NFL predictions: FiveThirtyEight says Cardinals will win 8 games

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians gestures during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015 in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Statistics-based website FiveThirtyEight is back with its NFL predictions model for the 2015 season, and it’s projecting the Arizona Cardinals to win 8.2 games and lose 7.8 this year.

Finishing just around .500 doesn’t seem like a huge compliment, but even without understanding the Elo-based model used to rate each NFL team (read more about the projection system here), it’s reasonable when looking at the context of the Cardinals’ schedule.

This season, Arizona plays only four teams as the 10 worst-ranked teams of FiveThirtyEight’s model.

In the NFC West, the Cardinals face long odds as well. The Seattle Seahawks are the only division team favored ahead of Arizona but with a 15 percent shot of winning it all are tied for first with the 2014 champion New England Patriots. Seattle has a 60 percent chance of winning the division and 78 percent shot of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Meanwhile, Arizona begins the season with a 37-percent chance of making the playoffs and only a 17-percent shot of taking home the NFC West crown.

The Cardinals are expected to hover around the .500 mark because the FiveThirtyEight ratings put their point differential for the season at just plus-7.5 points.

It’s not hard to believe Arizona will find itself in some very close games this season.

The Cards have a 66 percent chance of winning their 2015 opener against the New Orleans Saints.

FiveThirtyEight will update its prediction system after each game, so check back for more adjusted results as the season goes on.

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