Arizona Cardinals 2022 preview: Over or under projected win total of 9?

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray gives signals to receivers as he takes part in drills during the team's training camp at State Farm Stadium on Aug. in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray gives signals to receivers as he takes part in drills during the team's training camp at State Farm Stadium on Aug. in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 12 through Sept. 2, we will take a look at the projected win totals for each team in the NFL, running one division per week for eight weeks.

NOTE: All over/under win totals are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

2021 record: 11-6; lost in the wild-card round to the Los Angeles Rams, 34-11

2022 bye week: 13

Most impactful additions: WR Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, LB Zaven Collins (first-round pick), TE Trey McBride (second-round pick), RB Darrel Williams

Most impactful departures: RB Chase Edmonds, WR Christian Kirk, LB Jordan Hicks, EDGE Chandler Jones

Easiest part(s) of schedule: After a brutal three-game stretch to get started, the Cardinals have Carolina (road), Philly (home), Seattle (road), Saints (home), Minnesota (road) and Seattle (home). To have any chance to be in the running to win this division, they’ll need to go at least 4-2 here and possibly 5-1.

After the Seahawks game on Nov. 6, Arizona will play just two more games against teams that finished with losing records in 2021 – at Denver in Week 15 and at Atlanta on New Year’s Day.

Toughest part(s) of schedule: Where to start? How about the start? In all, Arizona has the second-toughest schedule in the league this season (based on 2021 winning percentages).

The Cardinals open with Kansas City (home), Las Vegas (road) and Rams (home). Likely best-case scenario with the aforementioned “easy” stretch is they are 6-3 before going on the road to face the Rams again and hosting the 49ers and Chargers and going to New England.

They have a breather in Week 17 against Atlanta, but have games wrapped around that one against Tampa Bay and at San Francisco.

Caesars over/under win total (as of Aug. 17): 9 – Over +120 / Under -140; Odds to win Super Bowl LVII +3500

Book it: UNDER. I’m not sure there’s a ton of value to bet the under here at -130, but no way anyone can touch this over with this schedule.

Giving Kyler Murray a record contract might set the quarterback market going into next offseason, but it is also going to hamper this franchise for some time.

In this case, the Cardinals go into the season without their top receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, for the first six weeks due to suspension, and they got help by bringing in Hollywood Brown. However, they also lost Christian Kirk and have a mediocre running game now that Chase Edmonds is gone. (They were 10th last season.)

That being said, Darrel Williams (of LSU and John Ehret High School) is an underrated back that could see his most carries in one season in his career, but James Conner remains a major injury risk, never having played more than 15 games in any of his five seasons – and only playing in more than 13 twice.

On defense, who doesn’t love DE JJ Watt, but like Conner – even more so than Conner – what are the chances he plays a full season? He has played in eight games or fewer in four of the past six seasons, and he is 33 years old. Young DL Rashard Lawrence is potentially a Pro Bowler, but he is coming off injured reserve, as well. And their third defensive lineman, Zach Allen, is also recovering from an ankle injury.

This is a team that could finish 11-6 or 6-11. If they stay completely healthy, and Hopkins is his old self immediately upon return from suspension, they will be in the running for the playoffs. But the odds are against all those things, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Coach Kliff Kingsbury on the hot seat before the season is ended.

Projected finish: 7-10

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