98.7 FM’s Arizona Cardinals 2019 season predictions
How can the Arizona Cardinals bounce back?
They put gasoline and flame to the team after the three-win 2018 season, firing head coach Steve Wilks and turning to a polar opposite in the progressive and offensive Kliff Kingsbury. They traded quarterback Josh Rosen after drafted Kyler Murray with the first overall pick.
General manager Steve Keim’s roster shuffling focused on the offensive line, wide receivers and middle linebacker. Injuries and unforeseen off-the-field issues have eaten away at the defensive side of the ball heading into the 2019 season, however.
There’s been fairly significant roster turnover with 24 of the 53 players on the active roster back after finishing last year with Arizona.
How do we expect the Cardinals’ season to go and why?
It’s a tough read, but here are the best guesses from 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s show hosts and ArizonaSports.com’s editors.
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf: The first four games are against physical, run-the-ball-down-your-throat teams. I see the Cards going 0-4 or 1-3 to start. The opposing offenses will eat clock and yards against the Cards’ weak rush defense. With a poor start, it will be hard to keep everything running smoothly. I think they’ll go about 5-7 the rest of the season so they’ll get better along the way but not good enough. Record prediction: 5-11.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: The Cardinals are better than they were last season just with addition by subtraction. Losing the Steve Wilks-Mike McCoy combo and exchanging quarterback Josh Rosen for Kyler Murray should automatically make a difference. The record prediction is tough just because of all the unknowns. But let’s just say a window of 5-8 wins is my best guess.
What I am looking for — just as importantly as more wins — is being more competitive, not getting blown out as much as they were last season. So I will predict 6-10 on the record, which is double their win total from last season as they remain competitive in a bunch of other games that they lose.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: It’s going to be a struggle, especially on the defensive side of the football. Kyler and Kingsbury get so much attention and their football experiment will be fascinating to watch, especially as they are forced to adapt to how defenses adapt to them. But the secondary has been gashed and between suspensions, injuries and surprise cuts I’m expecting this defense to be one of the worst in the league. I had 5-11 right out of the chute and I’m sticking with that.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: Fully admitting right up front there’s a lot of “I have no idea” in me as the Cardinals’ 2019 season gets underway. We know this: The bar set in 2018 is about as low as it can get. I expect the Cardinals offense to be noticeably better, thanks to Kliff Kingsbury’s play-calling and Kyler Murray’s skill set.
I’m not sure what to expect from the defense, especially early in the season without the starting corners. And the back half of the schedule is brutal. I think the Cardinals will be much improved optically, but that won’t necessarily translate to wins immediately. I think they’ll finish 5-11.
Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski: It’ll be up and down, but I expect it to be more entertaining than last season. I’m guessing they’ll surprise some teams early on, and then the league will adjust. The biggest thing to me is how the Cardinals adjust back after that. That will be a pretty good indicator of how well this is all going to work beyond 2019. I’ll say 6 or 7 wins, but with a more established offense and a much better outlook heading into 2020.
Kevin Zimmerman, editor of ArizonaSports.com: I’ll be an optimist and give Arizona a 6-10 season. Kliff Kingsbury’s competitiveness, I think, shows as well as Bill Belichick’s. His secrecy during training camp and the preseason is for good reason, and there’s a chance the Cardinals can string together a few early victories by the offensive play-caller staying a step ahead of opposing defensive coordinators.
They’ll eventually get a better handle on what Kingsbury is doing, and there will be rough patches for rookie quarterback Kyler Murray as well. The back-half of the year is a concern if the offensive line — I think it can be decent if healthy — gets hit by injuries. The losses to the defense should register a few more levels of concern higher than the offense.
Kellan Olson, editor of ArizonaSports.com: I think it’s going to be ugly. Real ugly. The Cardinals have a few severe red flags, one of which would be enough to ruin a team’s season. The front seven is going to immensely struggle stopping the run or creating a rush while the secondary will still be a mess even after Patrick Peterson returns.
Offensively, the line has yet to prove anything, and at the end of the day, they’re relying on a rookie quarterback to not only lead the team but be the star from the jump. A Pro Bowl season from David Johnson and Kyler being one of the league’s better QBs from Week 1 are the only two things that can save them because the defense is going to be historically bad. I see 3-13 again.