ESPN’s Barnwell more optimistic than most on Cardinals’ Super Bowl, playoff odds
Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com gave the Arizona Cardinals the eighth-best chance to win this year’s Super Bowl, at 4.2%.
He also gives them a 53.9% chance to make the postseason, which is higher than most.
Last season, the Cardinals performed ahead of schedule in the first half, starting 7-0. However, they went 4-6 to finish the regular season. They got ambushed in the playoffs by the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
The offseason wasn’t spectacular aside from giving quarterback Kyler Murray a lucrative extension. Unfortunately, they held an independent study stipulation in his deal, which proved to be very controversial.
They eventually removed that stipulation from the extension.
Regardless, the Cardinals still showed great faith in their fourth-year quarterback. He’s improved each of his first three seasons, culminating in him being an early-season MVP candidate last year.
However, injuries and poor play derailed a once-promising season — and Year 4 won’t be a gimme.
The post-Halloween fade has to go away. The Cardinals would obviously prefer to have a full season from wideout DeAndre Hopkins, but I wonder whether his six-game suspension might keep the him fresher heading into the dog days of the season.
Barring injury, Murray will have a solid unit of pass-catchers in Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz. They also have the return of starting running back James Conner, who was second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns last year.
Playing in a division that sent two teams to the NFC Championship a season ago won’t make the task less daunting for the Cardinals. However, if they can go 2-2 against the Rams and 49ers and sweep the Seattle Seahawks, they’d do themselves a lot of favors.
What others are saying
Other outlets aren’t as generous in their projections for the Cardinals. Football Outsiders gives them just 1.1% chance to win the Super Bowl — 20th on their leaderboard. Not only that, but the Cardinals are given a higher chance of earning the No. 1 pick (4%).
FiveThirtyEight has the Cardinals at 2% likely to win the Super Bowl, tied with the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders. They also project the Cardinals are 37% likely to even make the postseason — good for 19th.