ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona Sports’ look at the 2018 Cardinals and the rest of the NFL

Sep 7, 2018, 7:31 AM | Updated: 12:20 pm
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)...
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)
(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)

The National Football League is back!

After a seemingly endless offseason, we’ve got real football action this weekend at stadiums all around the country.

Once again, we’ve polled our staff here at 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and ArizonaSports.com to get their thoughts on the what the upcoming season holds for the Cardinals and the rest of the NFL.

Here’s what they came up with.

What will the Cardinals’ 2018 record be?

The Cardinals are one of the few teams in the league with a new head coach in Steve Wilks and a new quarterback in Sam Bradford. That fact, along with Bradford’s long injury history, doesn’t portend great things in the desert this year.

But, our 14-member panel has a little more optimism than Vegas does about the Birdgang. The Cardinals’ win total projection is right around 5.5 in Sin City; our voters project an average win total of 7.7.

Jarrett Carlen, producer of Bickley & Marotta, is the most optimistic and sees a 10-win campaign on the way and a playoff spot. On the other end of the scale, Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com has Arizona winning just five games, which would be the team’s worst mark since 2012.

Here’s a full list of votes:

10-6: Jarrett Carlen
9-7: Dan Bickley, John Gambadoro, Erin Maloney, Ron Wolfley
8-8: Jordan Byrd, Luke Lapinski, Vince Marotta
7-9: Paul Calvisi, Andy Greenberg,
6-10: Dave Burns, Doug Franz, Kevin Zimmerman
5-11: Kellan Olson


How many total yards from scrimmage will David Johnson have?

The Cardinals’ fourth-year running back hasn’t been shy about talking about his statistical goals for 2018. After leading the league in scrimmage yards in 2016, Johnson’s 2017 season, of course, was cut short by injury, and he’s out to prove to the world just how good he is.

The Pro Bowler wants 1,500 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards — a feat that’s never been accomplished in the NFL. Only one player, Chris Johnson of Tennessee in 2009, has eclipsed 2,500 total yards.

So, will he do it?

Uh, no. At least not according to our voters.

The average number of yards projected for Johnson is 1,931. Kellan Olson had the highest projection at 2,402 while Kevin Zimmerman of ArizonaSports.com projected the lowest total of 1,500.

Bickley: 1,871 yards
Burns: 1,995
Byrd: 1,600
Calvisi: 1,818
Carlen: 1,989
Franz: 1,876
Gambo: 2,150
Greenberg: 1,876
Lapinski: 2,022
Maloney: 1,900
Marotta: 1,755
Olson: 2,402
Wolfley: 1,850
Zimmerman: 1,500


Who will be the Cardinals’ second-leading receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald?

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Fitzgerald will lead the Cardinals in catches — it’s something he’s done 11 years in a row.

But who will be next on that list? In 2017, Andre Ellington and Jermaine Gresham each had 33 receptions to tie for the second-most on the team.

Seven members picked rookie Christian Kirk, a second-round pick out of Texas A&M, who tied for the team lead with eight preseason catches. Five voters chose Johnson, who had 80 receptions two seasons ago. The other vote went to second-year wideout Chad Williams.

Christian Kirk (7 votes): Burns, Byrd, Calvisi, Lapinski, Marotta, Olson, Wolfley
David Johnson (5 votes): Bickley, Franz, Gambadoro, Greenberg, Maloney
Chad Williams (2 vote): Carlen, Zimmerman


Who will have more passing yards, Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen?

Cardinals fans are in a bit of a weird spot. Most believe that any chance of Arizona reaching the playoffs is directly tied to Bradford staying healthy, but many are antsy to hand the keys to Rosen, the first quarterback drafted in the first round by the Cardinals in 12 years.

Our panel seems to think that Bradford will stay healthy enough to amass more yards through the air than Rosen.

Sam Bradford (11 votes): Byrd, Calvisi, Carlen, Gambadoro, Greenberg, Lapinski, Maloney, Marotta, Olson, Wolfley, Zimmerman
Josh Rosen (3 votes): Bickley, Burns, Franz


Our panelists also made picks for division winners, the playoffs, Super Bowl and end-of-year awards and leaders.

Dan Bickley

Co-host of Bickley & Marotta; Owner of luxurious hair

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Minnesota
NFC South: Atlanta
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: New Orleans
Wild Card 2: Green Bay
NFC Champion: Minnesota

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Oakland
Wild Card 1: Jacksonville
Wild Card 2: Baltimore
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh

Super Bowl: Pittsburgh over Minnesota

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, Denver
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Shaquem Griffin, Seattle
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Jon Gruden, Oakland
Leading Rusher: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh
Leading Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Sack Leader: Chandler Jones, Arizona
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: Minnesota Vikings
Worst Record: Cleveland Browns
Breakout Player: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants


Dave Burns

Co-host of Burns & Gambo; Has seen A LOT of movies

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: Atlanta
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: New Orleans
Wild Card 2: Minnesota
NFC Champion: Green Bay

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: LA Chargers
Wild Card 2: NY Jets
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh

Super Bowl: Green Bay over Pittsburgh

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith, Chicago
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Todd Bowles, NY Jets
Leading Rusher: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Leading Receiver: Odell Beckham Jr., NY Giants
Sack Leader: Khalil Mack, Chicago
First Coach Fired: Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay
Best Record: Green Bay
Worst Record: Tampa Bay
Breakout Player: Josh Doctson, Washington


Jordan Byrd

Producer of Burns & Gambo; Probably knows the words to the NAU fight song

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Minnesota
Wild Card 2: Atlanta
NFC Champion: New Orleans

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: Jacksonville
Wild Card 2: LA Chargers
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New Orleans over New England

MVP: Drew Brees, New Orleans
Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marcus Davenport, New Orleans
Comeback Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, New Orleans
Leading Rusher: David Johnson, Arizona
Leading Receiver: Julio Jones, Atlanta
Sack Leader: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: New Orleans
Worst Record: NY Jets
Breakout Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City


Paul Calvisi

KTAR News 92.3/Doug & Wolf; Notoriously fast walker

NFC East: Dallas
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Minnesota
Wild Card 2: Atlanta
NFC Champion: New Orleans

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: LA Chargers
Wild Card 1: Houston
Wild Card 2: Cincinnati
AFC Champion: Jacksonville

Super Bowl: New Orleans over Jacksonville

MVP: Drew Brees, New Orleans
Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Royce Freeman, Denver
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Derwin James, LA Chargers
Comeback Player of the Year: Sam Bradford, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn, LA Chargers
Leading Rusher: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Leading Receiver: Julio Jones Atlanta
Sack Leader: Von Miller, Denver
First Coach Fired: Adam Gase, Miami
Best Record: New Orleans
Worst Record: Cleveland
Breakout Player: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota


Jarrett Carlen

Producer of Bickley & Marotta; Sharp-dressed man

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Minnesota
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: Arizona
Wild Card 1: Green Bay
Wild Card 2: LA Rams
NFC Champion: Minnesota

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: Houston
Wild Card 2: Oakland
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh

Super Bowl: Vikings over Steelers

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Sam Darnold, NY Jets
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith, Chicago
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Jon Gruden, Oakland
Leading Rusher: David Johnson, Arizona
Leading Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Sack Leader: Chandler Jones, Arizona
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: New England
Worst Record: Tampa Bay
Breakout Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City


Doug Franz

Co-host of Doug & Wolf; Owes lots of people a beer

NFC East: NY Giants
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: Atlanta
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Minnesota
Wild Card 2: New Orleans
NFC Champion: Atlanta

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: LA Chargers
Wild Card 1: Kansas City
Wild Card 2: Houston
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New England over Atlanta

MVP: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Offensive Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Bradley Chubb, Denver
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn, LA Chargers
Leading Rusher: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Leading Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Sack Leader: Khalil Mack, Chicago
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: New England
Worst Record: Cleveland
Breakout Player: Jonathan Allen, Washington


John Gambadoro

Co-host of Burns & Gambo; Owns more goats than the rest of the panel combined

NFC East: NY Giants
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: Atlanta
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Minnesota
Wild Card 2: New Orleans
NFC Champion: Atlanta

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: LA Chargers
Wild Card 1: Houston
Wild Card 2: Kansas City
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh

Super Bowl: Atlanta over Pittsburgh

MVP: Matt Ryan, Atlanta
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith, Chicago
Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn, LA Chargers
Leading Rusher: David Johnson, Arizona
Leading Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Sack Leader: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: Green Bay
Worst Record: Tampa Bay
Breakout Player: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati


Andy Greenberg

Associate producer of Burns & Gambo; Hater of Derek Jeter

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Minnesota
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Green Bay
Wild Card 2: Carolina
NFC Champion: New Orleans

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: LA Chargers
Wild Card 2: Tennessee
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New Orleans over New England

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Michael Dickson, Seattle
Comeback Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, Houston
Coach of the Year: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota
Leading Rusher: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Leading Receiver: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
Sack Leader: Khalil Mack, Chicago
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: Minnesota
Worst Record: Miami
Breakout Player: Mike Williams, LA Chargers


Luke Lapinski

Host of The Rundown; Plays more hockey than most pro hockey players

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Minnesota
NFC South: Carolina
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Green Bay
Wild Card 2: New Orleans
NFC Champion: Minnesota

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: LA Chargers
Wild Card 1: Kansas City
Wild Card 2: Jacksonville
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New England over Minnesota

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
Coach of the Year: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota
Leading Rusher: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Leading Receiver: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
Sack Leader: Chandler Jones, Arizona
First Coach Fired: Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay
Best Record: New England
Worst Record: Cleveland
Breakout Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City


Erin Maloney

Producer of Doug & Wolf; Owns jerseys of 75 percent of the players mentioned in this piece

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Atlanta
Wild Card 2: Minnesota
NFC Champion: Green Bay

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: LA Chargers
Wild Card 1: Houston
Wild Card 2: Kansas City
AFC Champion: Jacksonville

Super Bowl: Green Bay over Jacksonville

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith, Chicago
Comeback Player of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr., NY Giants
Coach of the Year: Matt Nagy, Chicago
Leading Rusher: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Leading Receiver: Julio Jones, Atlanta
Sack Leader: Khalil Mack, Chicago
First Coach Fired: Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay
Best Record: New England
Worst Record: Tampa Bay
Breakout Player: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati


Vince Marotta

Co-host of Bickley & Marotta; Still hasn’t seen The Godfather

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Minnesota
Wild Card 2: NY Giants
NFC Champion: New Orleans

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: LA Chargers
Wild Card 2: Houston
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New Orleans over New England

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Bradley Chubb, Denver
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Pat Shurmur, NY Giants
Leading Rusher: David Johnson, Arizona
Leading Receiver: Jarvis Landry, Cleveland
Sack Leader: Von Miller, Denver
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: New England
Worst Record: Buffalo
Breakout Player: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota


Kellan Olson

ArizonaSports.com; Was tempted to pick Luka Doncic for Offensive Rookie of the Year

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Minnesota
NFC South: New Orleans
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Atlanta
Wild Card 2: Chicago
NFC Champion: Minnesota

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: Jacksonville
Wild Card 2: LA Chargers
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New England over Minnesota

MVP: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Offensive Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, LA Rams
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Comeback Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson, Houston
Coach of the Year: Bill O’Brien, Houston
Leading Rusher: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville
Leading Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Sack Leader: Khalil Mack, Chicago
First Coach Fired: Hue Jackson, Cleveland
Best Record: New England
Worst Record: Oakland
Breakout Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City


Ron Wolfley

Co-host of Doug & Wolf; Has consumed more coffee than Juan Valdez

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Minnesota
NFC South: Atlanta
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: New Orleans
Wild Card 2: Green Bay
NFC Champion: Minnesota

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: Denver
Wild Card 1: Baltimore
Wild Card 2: LA Chargers
AFC Champion: New England

Super Bowl: New England over Minnesota

MVP: Tom Brady, New England
Offensive Player of the Year: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota
Defensive Player of the Year: Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith, Chicago
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota
Leading Rusher: David Johnson, Arizona
Leading Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Sack Leader: Chandler Jones, Arizona
First Coach Fired: Vance Joseph, Denver
Best Record: Minnesota
Worst Record: Cleveland
Breakout Player: Saquon Barkley, NY Giants


Kevin Zimmerman

ArizonaSports.com; Ready to answer your 2020 NBA Draft questions now

NFC East: Philadelphia
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: Atlanta
NFC West: LA Rams
Wild Card 1: Minnesota
Wild Card 2: New Orleans
NFC Champion: LA Rams

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
AFC West: Kansas City
Wild Card 1: LA Chargers
Wild Card 2: Baltimore
AFC Champion: Pittsburgh

Super Bowl: Pittsburgh over LA Rams

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Sam Darnold, NY Jets
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Comeback Player of the Year: David Johnson, Arizona
Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick, New England
Leading Rusher: David Johnson, Arizona
Leading Receiver: Todd Gurley, LA Rams
Sack Leader: Joey Bosa, LA Chargers
First Coach Fired: Adam Gase, Miami
Best Record: Pittsburgh
Worst Record: Miami
Breakout Player: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina

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Arizona Sports’ look at the 2018 Cardinals and the rest of the NFL