Cardinals picked 4th in NFC West by FiveThirtyEight

Sep 11, 2021, 11:35 AM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fir...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Cardinals are projected to finish in fourth place in the NFC West in FiveThirtyEight’s season-opening predictions. There are some silver linings though, especially for quarterback Kyler Murray.

FiveThirtyEight predicts an 8-9 record for the Cardinals in 2021. That projection is only two games behind every team in the NFC West in the quarterback-adjusted forecast, which uses individual quarterback to adjust win probabilities.

Only the San Francisco 49ers’ record adjusts among NFC West teams in the site’s traditional forecast. Its record is adjusted down to 8-9, level with Arizona.

The site gives Arizona a 36% chance to win the NFC West. That mark is the lowest in the division. However, it’s the best mark out of the teams predicted to finish last in their respective divisions.

Despite the team not receiving the best reviews among FiveThirtyEight’s measurements, Murray’s individual ratings shine bright.

Murray’s season-opening Elo value, the value that the site uses to rank quarterbacks, is at 217 Elo points. That mark is the best among NFC West quarterbacks. Seattle’s Russell Wilson has the next-highest mark at 187 Elo points.

Murray is rated above defending Super Bowl champion Tom Brady by only four Elo points. Only Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are rated above Murray among NFC quarterbacks.

Murray is ranked sixth overall among expected Week 1 starters.

Murray is ranked above several NFL veterans, including Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Arizona is the underdog for Sunday’s opener against Tannehill and the Titans in FiveThirtyEight’s models. The quarterback-adjusted model gives the Cardinals a 34% win probability. The traditional model bumps the Cardinals down by just two percentage points.

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) is sacked by New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Coll...
Tyler Drake

Davis Mills, Houston Texans limp into Week 7 matchup vs. Cardinals

The Texans' well has run dry in the form of a five-game losing streak after picking up a season-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt checks his face after running through a drill during practice Wednes...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ J.J. Watt feels for Texans fans, ready to face former team

J.J. Watt undoubtedly has a ton of love for the city of Houston. Come Sunday, however, moving to 7-0 is the biggest thing on his mind.
1 day ago
Zach Ertz of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at First...
Kevin Zimmerman

Keim: Cardinals pursued Zach Ertz trade feeling they ‘had to make a move’

General manager Steve Keim felt that his Arizona Cardinals had no choice but to be aggressive after losing starting tight end Maxx Williams.
1 day ago
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones interacts with Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Dan...
Arizona Sports

Texans-Cardinals injury report: Arizona TE Darrell Daniels, DT Rashard Lawrence out

The Cardinals are nicked up at tight end, on the offensive line and at linebacker as they prepare for Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kylie Fitts (49), Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones (55) and Card...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones out of COVID-19 protocols, Fitts’ year over

Cardinals outside linebacker Kylie Fitts said on Instagram that his season is over, though it is not clear what has led to his year ending.
1 day ago
The Arizona Cardinals prepare to take the field for a game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEne...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals OL making up for Hudson absence; Green to Ertz: ‘Play fast’

TEMPE — Not only did the Arizona Cardinals have to deal with a handful of coaches and players testing positive for COVID-19 when they took on the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, they did so without starting center Rodney Hudson, who was placed on the injured reserve with rib and shoulder injuries ahead of the action. […]
2 days ago
Cardinals picked 4th in NFC West by FiveThirtyEight