May 14, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) looks on during organized team activities at the Cardinals Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals Round Table: How Many Games Will the Cardinals Win?

Arizona Cardinals fans are optimistic about their team’s outlook for 2013, and our writers are as well.

The Cardinals went 5-11 in 2012, but they made a lot of changes in the offseason. The changes are likely to benefit the Cardinals from the get-go, as the team is a lot better.

But how much better are the Cardinals? Let’s find out.

Michael Russell

For me this season comes down to two things. Can Carson Palmer be the guy for the Cardinals, and can the offensive line protect him? So if I had to guess a number, I would say eight wins for the Cardinals this year, with the potential for more or less. If Palmer can come in and give the Cardinals solid play from the quarterback position, and can be protected by the Cardinals offensive line, this can be a good team. If the defense can play up to the level of last season, and the Cardinals can get a running game going behind guys like Rashard Mendenhaal, Ryan Williams, Stepfan Tayor, and Andre Ellington then you could possibly be looking at a ten-plus win team. But it all comes down to the quarterback, and I don’t see any reason the Cardinals can’t win at least eight games in 2013.

Philip Hoffman

The Arizona Cardinals will have to fight very hard to win games this season, they have a very tough schedule. With a new coaching staff, the Cardinals will have to work extra hard to learn new offensive and defensive schemes. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, one of their toughest stretches of games comes in the first four weeks of the season.

Without seeing any evidence of an improved offensive line , or a defense that can match last years play, I do not see them winning the first four games of the season against the St. Louis Rams, the Detroit Lions, the New Orleans Saints, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The first win of the season will come during a home game against the Carolina Panthers.After that game, they will enter the toughest four game stretch of the season with games against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Houston Texans. They will most likely lose all four of those games as well.
From there the schedule become a lot easier and since the offense and defense should be adjusted to their new schemes by then, victories will come. They should be able to beat, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles, a home game against the Rams, and against the Tennessee Titans.
The only wild card game in that group is the match with the Eagles, the Cardinals have beaten them two years in a row. Last year the Eagles were embarrassed by the Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium. This makes me wonder if the Eagles will come with a vendetta against the Cardinals and pull out a win when they otherwise shouldn’t.
After those contests, the Cardinals finish out the season with games against the Seahawks and 49ers. Hopefully the team will be able to pull off one upset in those two games.

Overall the Cardinals should be able to win 4-6 wins next season based on evidence from last year. Now if the offensive line is able to improve, and the defense is able to match its play last year, the Cardinals should be able to pull off some more wins against some teams they would not have beaten last year.

Earl Burnett

It depends on offensive line and can they come up with a combination that can hold up and if they hold up and protect Palmer along with the running game, offensively they can win 6 games. Then you add the talent on defense and special teams that should add 2 or 3 wins. So the Cardinals can win 8 or 9 games.

Brenton Johnson

Brenton wrote an article about this, and it will go up later today. Here’s an excerpt.

“I must admit, I have been truly impressed and excited about all the additions added to the Cardinals roster (this offseason) from top to bottom. Additionally, on paper I believe the Redbirds had if not the best; one of the best offseason’s this year.”

Baily Deeter

I say seven or eight. The NFC West is brutal, but I really like what the Cardinals have done this offseason. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald will click immediately, and the Cardinals’ offense will be dangerous. They are well-rounded, and I think they have the talent to win more games, but with the schedule this year, I just don’t see it.

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  • Bill Doerr

    ” Without seeing any evidence of an improved offensive line , or a defense that can match last years play, I do not see them winning the first four games of the season ”

    Who is this Phillip Hoffman guy??? Is he retarded or smokes a lot meth before talking football on the internet?? How in the hell hasn’t the offensive line improved??? The defense is top to bottom better than last years!!!!!

    The OL was without 4 of its 5 starters. They had a shitty backup center, backup for a already horrible Snyder, Batiste played LT to fill in for Levi Brown before he was released and Rookie Nate Potter took over, and RT Bobby Massie was a rookie. After bringing Potter in , in the second half of the season the Cardinals line gave up 19 sacks ranking 13th in the NFL. Bobby Massie was just rated by pro football focus as a top 3 OT in the NFL , Giving up not a single sack against some of the NFLs best Defenses.

    The Cardinals drafted LG Jonathan Cooper 7th overall in the 2013 draft. He is said to be the best OG to come outta the draft in over 20+ years, extremely athletic for a OG, he can pull , anchor like a beast, is a beast in both pass and run protection. LT Levi Brown is back this year, having a OG the caliber Cooper will elevate Browns game because he wont be getting beat inside anymore. A QB like Carson Palmer who just finished in the top quickest passing QBs in the NFL, Getting the ball on avg 3.3 seconds, greatly helps Brown in pass protection, Palmer doesn’t hold the ball forever like Kolb/Skelton , and Brown wont have to over extend protection with a QB who knows what he is doing. OC Lyle Sendlein is back . D. College is playing RG for now , until 4th round pick E. Watford who only gave up a single sack in college is ready to play at a NFL level, which might be as early as game one. RT Bobby Massie is coming into his second year, 98% of the time players are even better in there second year. The Arizona Cardinals have a good OL coming into 2013 MUCH IMPROVED over 2012.

    Their Defense is awesome. They have one of the best front 7s in the league. They Added great depth in FA and the Draft. Just at ILB they have D-Wash , Dansby , Minter ( DWASH n Minter could turn out the best ILB in the NFL) and Brinkley .Their Secondary is deep , they have good safetys in their top 3 Bell, Jonhson ( who filling in for Rhodes had a pick 6 and a few ints many tackles ) Mathieu are their top 3 , Mathieu can be a big time play maker in 2013. They have SICK DEPTH at CB including Patrick Peterson who just voted as the best CB in the NFL by his peer’s.

    On Offense, they brought in Carson Palmer as their starting QB and Palmer has the best WR unit in the NFC WEST , in Bruce Arians Passing vertical offense with a stable of talented RBs. Fitz, Floyd , Roberts, Swope , Byrd, TE Rob Housler is the fastest TE in the NFL With 4.4 40 speed , he creates great mismatches no DL men in the league can catch him, at 6″5 he is a huge target with excellent hands, and will actually be utilized and developed under Arians. He is predicted to have over 600+ YDs n 5+TDs. Floyd and Fitz should have 20+ TDs between them. They should have a really good run game , even if its Avg though , it will set up the play action passing game , and play action offenses are very difficult for even the best Ds to stop, its harder to stop than the Read option.

    Maybe you should know what your talking about before you open your mouth Hoffman. Arizona has a ceiling a 11+ wins and a floor of 7. STL has a questionable run game this year, Rookie WRs , and a QB that has been a league average to date. In fact Palmer over the last 3 years if you do the math HAS FAR OUTPLAYED HIM. Palmer also only played in 10 games in 2011 , getting off the couch to play for the raiders , didn’t know their offensive playbook at all and still threw for almost 3k yards and 13TDs. Last year he had the worse OC in the NFL in greg knapp in a offense that didn’t fit him , with WRs running routes wrong or dropping his pass’s , one of the worse group of WRs in the league and he still threw over 4k yards 22TDs 14INTs and completed 61% of his pass’s with a 85.5 Passer rating. If the Receivers actually got the majority of the catchable pass’s thrown to them imagine his stats. Despite only playing in 41 games he has thrown for 61TDs for 10,741yds completed 61.2% of his throws for a 50.26 QBR n a 82.73 Passer Rating over the last 3 years. Bradford comes no where near that, I did the math with boths stats over 3 yrs. Palmer has the best WRs he has ever had that are the best group in the NFC West , with one of the best play callers in the NFL who runs a vertical offense tailored for a QB like Palmer, and Bruce Arians if notorious for tweeking his offense to fit his QB.
    Arizona has a very good football team. They Can easily beat n e of the 1st 4 teams they played. In the First game ill bet they will be 5-3, 6-2 or 7-1. I think ARZ will finish either 10-6 or 11-5.

    • 9erFaithful

      Whats Phil smoking? I’d gladly take an ounce of what ever your chiefen up guy. Who trolls sports articles and drops page long comments anyway? 10 wins bro? 11? You need to check in to a clinic. The cardinals were notably bad in many of the most important roles to the game. They just restarted on their entire coaching staff and offensive mentality… oh, but they are not only going to be competitive but win against their ugly schedule next season. Your not going to watch most games past half time, you pipe dreaming, sun stroked, sycophantic, clown. Enjoy preseason and OTA’s, when the cleats hit the field its time for reality. I cant wait to log on week 8 to hear how your looking for Clowney in the 1st pick of the draft. Your team has no proven outside pass rushing, lineman, safeties, or running backs. 11 WINS MAN, Seriously. Dockets old, the Levi is broken, Palmer will be, your running backs are admittedly scared to play, your argument is a massively bloated claim. No one out of the backfield made it off the field under their own power last year. Kolb is still considering the life of a stay at home dad where its safe from the likes of Aldon and Justin Smith. The Cardinals HAVE made a couple improvements this off season, but so has everyone else. At best they have gone from a competitive level with popwarner to the likes of a local highschool.

      • 9erFaithful

        Oh, and Vernon Davis ran a 4.36 compared to Houslers 4.46….Your just wrong. Just so wrong, so very wrong.

        • Bill Doerr

          WOW a niner fan using google to quote stat’s that’s uncommon. Davis Ran a 4.38 as his lowest back in 2006, almost 8 years ago. Housler Ran a low of 4.4 in 2011. If you think Davis coming into his 8th NFL Season still runs a 4.38 or plays at that speed you are High. Housler actually still runs a 4.4 40 yd dash and plays with 4.4-4.5 speed, running a certain speed n playing with that speed running routes etc are 2 very different things. Davis is also much shorter , Housler is a 1/4 inch under 6’6, THAT SIZE 6″6 255 POUNDS WITH 4.4 SPEED IS UNHEARD OF IN THE NFL IS WHAT I WAS SAYING.
          Whiz also never utilized Housler much or Developed him. In Bruce Arians offense Housler will be used more , a BIG part of Arians offense is to utilize atleast one TE in pass catching in 2 TE sets. Housler is a VERY big target, Has excellent hands , with awesome speed. He also has not had a decent QB since arriving in Arizona in 2011. He has a top 12 NFL QB throwing to him now that is very accurate. Him being developed & used in this offense is the reason he is predicted to have a 70+ reception year with 700+ rec yards n 6+ TDs
          Bruce Arians passing offense floods the field with receiver’s. Using 3 to 4 wideout sets depending on the play. With the best WR group in the Division with guys like 2012 1st round pick Mike Floyd , Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Ryan Swope ( Tied with the Rams Tavon Austin running the second fastest 40 time @ the combine of 4.3, Avg 4.2-4.3 , He had concussion issues in college but never missed a game due to one, Wes Welker had concussion issues coming in the league as well n is a pro bowler. Swope is bigger and faster than welker at 6ft 205 , and is Texas A&Ms leading receiver all time in recs , rec yds, and TDs. If not for the 2 minor concussions he had he would of been a lock for the 2nd round pick he was projected to be) & guys further down on the depth chart like Laron Byrd who is very good, and Robert Gill who runs a 4.2 avg. Flooding the field with receivers who are the best group in the this division & one of the top units in the NFC Is very dangerous.
          No one can double or triple cover Fitz as their is so many to over. All the rest including Floyd, Roberts, Swope & Housler are excellent receivers that actually have a capable QB now. This is a very good offense, their passing offense at the end of the year will rank much higher than SFs mark my words. If you think this team with a excellent offense & defense and better all around coaching cant beat the 49ers this year your smoking crack. The Cardinals have drafted very well the past 6-7 years , have a very talented team ( this team lost 4 games last year by less than 7 points because they didn’t have a QB or they r a 10 win team easy in 2011) that is improved on all facets of their offense , their defense is even better than last year, and now they actually have a QB and a great HC that knows he is doing with great play making. The Niners were a 6-8 win team w/out Harbaugh he gets their takes a QB looked at as a bust prior and turns that same squad into a winning team in 2011. That is the Kinda of coach Bruce Arians is , he has been quoted this is the most talented team he has ever walked into , the Cardinals have awesome talent and with great coaching/play calling most importantly easily can be a winning team this season.

          • 9erFaithful

            You uncle fucking, inbred, degenerate child. How is it that you could be so convoluted that you think Housler “plays faster” than Vernon Davis. Such an absurd statement only exemplifies your outrageous claims throughout your post. It is clear that you are not a student of the game, rather just a cardinal’s fan. Continue living in ignorance of what really makes a good NFL football team because you have never seen one in Arizona. Judging by the tone and length of your writings you probably sit around waiting for someone to doubt the cardinals just so you can give overly long winded rebuttal with the depth of a five year old’s observance. You probably spend the rest of your time dancing around your basement wearing women’s skin, tucking your dick between your legs, and listening to running horses. Why dont you wipe the cheetoes off your face, head back to your local glory hole and tell him your opinions on how good the cardinals are. No one here gives a shit. Ive lived in Arizona for a decade and heard this same garbage, year after year, only to watch the woeful cardinals fail to show up on Sundays. Fans like you should have your hands and tongue cut off so adults can talk real about football. Anyone can list off every player on their team and talk about their previous accolades, I dont need to, my team is the SF 49ers, with out a doubt, contender for the superbowl. Your team is the Cardinals, the laughing stock of the NFL.

          • Phil Hoffman

            I hope we can both tell 9er faithful to shut the heck up by seasons end win the 9ers miss the playoffs.

      • Bill Doerr

        Your a retarded cocksucker , as soon as I saw “9erfaithful” I expected nothing less than a retarded punk. The Cardinals have no proven OL men are you serious?? this defense was 12th in The NFL last year n 5th in pass defense. Darnell Dockett is far from done , your a fucking moron. Dockett, Williams, Campbell, with rotational players Rucker , Carter , and Shuagnessy up front. At ILB they have sick depth , D-WASH , they went out picked up Dansby, Kevin Minter was looked at was one of the best ILBs in the NATION , Jasper Brinkely & Reggie Welkeras a 3rd down LB because he excels in stopping the run. They are fine at OLB with Acho, Schofield , Okafor who is a rookie, Alexander who is a pro bowler, and Shuagnessy playing OLB as well.

        They are sick deep at CBs with the best in the league In Patrick Peterson, Anotone Cason, Powers, Flemming, MCcan , Bethel and Arenas. Weak at Safety?? Last I checked they were pretty deep, ask your 9ers about Rashad Johnson who some decent picks last year n has been groomed the past 2 Years to take over for Rhodes , Bell is Old but still very good, They picked up Tony Jefferson who was projected to go in the 3rd out OK Tony Jefferson n his team mate Javon Harris, they have Curtis Taylor, Jonthan Amaya & a kid out of LSU who in ONE SEASON was a Consensus All-American, ALL-SEC, SEC championship game MVP ,First Team ALL-SEC, Cotton Bowl defensive MVP ,HEISMAN FINALIST, and won the Chuck Bednarik Award recognized as the best defensive player in the NATION.If not the Marijauana issues a lock for a 1st round pick in CB/FS Tyrann Mathieu kid is a stud.

        Weak at RB really??? why don’t u look at a roster before u open that dirty cock hole u call ure mouth. They Drafted the 5th and 7th best RBs coming into the draft and high 2nd – Mid 3rd round projected picks Andre Ellington and Stephan Taylor. Taylor is Stanford All-Time leading Rusher with over 4300+ yards, Holds the records with 3 1k+ yards seaons, TD records of 45, YPC records of 5.1, Leading Stanford to a PAC-12 Championship n Rose Bowl victory with 1,600 yds n 13TDs n his tied in school history with 4+TDs in a single game. Andre Ellington is Clemsons 3rd all-time leading rusher. Ryan Williams played scared last year cause he was freaking injured , playing injured. He had got the extra year to clean his knee out , and running explosively and running like himself for the 1st time since the knee injury , he is 100% healthy n will be fine. Rashard Mendenhall has 3 1k+ YD seasons and is fully healthy and ready to beast out in 2013. All 4 have starting talent, they are pretty fuckin stacked if u look at a roster .
        Levi Brown has been protecting some of the leagues worst QBs who hold onto the ball entirely too long. Palmer just finished top 10 in the league in the NFLs quickest passing QBs at 3.3 seconds behind Brady at 3.1 according to ESPN. Brown having a QB that finds his target n gets the Ball out quickly helps his pass protection a lot , especially being that he steps into the pocket , & reads defenses very well as good as n e top QB in the league.The OL Ranked 13th in the NFL in the second half of the year, Bobby Massie gave up ZERO sacks , dominating the 49ers in the last game, and is coming back for his second year, they 2 OTs are very good. They have their starting C back. J. Cooper is the highly regarded as the best LG to come outta the draft In over 20+ years , he is a beast. Brown having cooper next to him at LG helps Brown out big time because Brown will not be getting beat on the outside , they shore up the left side and are beasts in run blocking. Their OL will be pretty good in 2013, improved coaching helps out a lot. No one is worried about old man Justin Smith and his G/F Aldon, Considering they both struggle to stay healthy , ,especially Justin.
        The Cardinals have one the best play calling coachs in the league in Bruce Arians , with a good run game to set up play action which is very hard for even the best defenses to slow down. Carson Palmer is a accurate deep ball thrower & the cardinals have the best WR unit in the Division. Who the 9ers have ?? Boldin who cant stay healthy through the year?? Manningham or Jenkins?? Please. The Cardinals have a top 10 defense this year, they passing game will be a top 10 passing game for sure , and they have a explosive offense.
        The 49ers are not off to a good start offensively and are damn good defensively. Every other team in the division got better , the ARZ Cardinals got leaps and bounds better in the off season , and according to ESPNs Mel Kiper they are the most improved team with the best off-season in the NFC. The 49ers will be luck to even go 3-3 in division play, the 49ers could easily only win 8 or 9 games this year with poor division play and that is very likely so id shut your cock hole if I were u . THe 49ers could not beat the Cardinals by more than 13 points when they had garbage at QB n couldn’t utilze their receivers, still M. Floyd who was a rookie caught 2TDs for 166YDs in the season finale. With a pretty good QB , a good OL , a good run game ,great play calling , and a top 10 the 49ers might not even beat the Cardinals, Especially with Arizona airing the ball out left n right. Well see when the seasons start. Seriously stick what you know like sucking balls or something unless u know what your talking about. O and Vernon Davis DOES NOT PLAY WITH 4.3 SPEED , ROB HOUSLER pls with 4.4-4.5 speed moron.

  • Phil Hoffman

    Hey Bill thanks for commenting. I assure you I am not retarded and I do not smoke meth. I do think the Cardinals improved their offensive line by selecting Cooper, I’ve said it in previous posts.
    However, as we learned with Levi Brown, no one can posiibly forsee the outcome of a high draft pick. There is no gaurantee he will be any good in the NFL. Now I think he will, but, that does not adress my other concerns with the offensive line.
    Levi Brown has never had a complete season in the NFL and hes is just now starting to particpate in team activities after tearing his tricep last year. There is no telling what kind of strength he has lost in that muscle and if he will regain it. Even if he does return to form, there was never a single season that Cardinal fans were not outraged by his performance. Even in 2011 when he did perform respectably in the last half of the season.
    Bobby Massie is a talented young player. But, how much of his sucess last season came at the expense of running a conservative offense that did not leave the line vulnerable? I cant ignore his performance in the first half of the season.
    Thinking that Earl Watford will be able to replace Colledge is wishful thinking.What kind of competition did he face at James Madison? He almost never went against NFL caliber talent.
    Now even if all of the Cardinals’ plan for the offensive line works out, who is going to run the football? Rashard Mendenhall? He had a few good seasons with PIttsburgh, but will he ever truly be the same player he was before his acl tear? We don’t know. Ryan Williams? He said he was afraid to run the football last year. Thats not something that goes away after sustaining his second season ending injury in his second consecutive season in the NFL.
    Taylor? I really like Taylor, he is my bet to start the majority of games, but will his lack of speed work in the NFL and if you look at his game tape at Stanford the line was always opening up huge holes for him the Cards’ line will nor be able to in the NFL.
    Now you mention housler, I’m kind of sick of waiting for him to develop, maybe coaching and lack of quarterback were the main reasons he didn’t produce the last couple of seasons but he never really stood out to me minus a couple of misconnects from Kolb and Skelton.
    On defense, ya the unit will be solid, but as good as last year? The safety position is not as good as it was last year. Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson are bothe gone, Rashard Johnson returns and I like him a lot, he was probably the second best safety on the team last year after Rhodes. But after that, I do not trust Yeremiah Bell to play as well as he has in the past given his age. Tyranne Mathieu will take time to develop and needs to put on some punds if he wants to be an effective safety in the NFL.
    And as far as the pass rush is concerned, last year a lot of the rush depended on Dockett and Campbell taking up pass blockers and creating holes for the linebackers. Im all for the switch in the rush but I dont think we have the complimentary players to sustain it running a 3-4, Acho and Schofield are both unproven and inconsistent.
    The cornerback depth is better than it has been in any year for the Cardinals. Patrick Peterson and Antione Cason will be a dynamic pairing. It will not be easy to complete passes against the Cardinals.
    As you mentioned the middle linebacking core is as good as ever and the three new additions will bolster its strength.
    My only real concern with the defense is the change in scheme. We saw two years ago how long it took for the defens to adapt to a new scheme. Its not easy. But more than that will Bowles be able to put the team in position to make plays? Hopefully, but I dont know.
    All that doesn’t matter though, say the line is a top 15 offensive line this year, and the defense is plays as well as they played last year and Carson Palmer really is god’s gift to the Cardinals, the Cardinals schedule is filled with top 15 teams.
    To ask them to win any of the first four games with a new coaching staff is a tough sell. I think you need to reasses your opinions on the St. Lous Rams. They are a tough team and I think the Cardinals will beat them at home this year, but to play them the first game of the season with a new coaching staff in their stadium, it is unlikely the Cardinals walk away with a win.
    Detroit, New Orleans and Tampa Bay all got significantly better this year and have better overall teams then the Cardinals.We play at Tampa Bay and at New Orleans, two very tough venues. Detroit in the second week for the new coaching staff will not be a welcome sight either. So I do not see a victory.
    When assesing the win to loss ratios I don’t like hypothetical situations. So im going off the facts that I know. The Cardinals are not better than the Seahawks or 49ers, they are probably on par with the rams. So there is 5 losses right there.
    So then they play the Texans and the Falcons. Another two losses. Theres no way the Cardinals have as good of a team as they do. .
    Even saying the Cardinals can for sure beat the Colts, the Eagles and the Panthers is a stretch. Lets pull another loss from thos 3 games. Thats 8 losses.
    I see 11 games in which the Cards will be underdogs maybe more. So if I were a betting man which I am not, I would say the Cardinals realisticaly will win 4- 6 games next year right now with all the information I have.
    Now I hope your right I am as big of a Cardinals fan as there is. I want every aquistion and every draft pick to work out. I want Carson Palmer to throw for 4500 yards, I want Larry Fitzgerald to be the greatest reciever of all time, I want Rashard Mendenhall to find the fountain of yout here. But all the years at Sun Devil Stadium I spent as a child/teenager going to every single game has taught me not to get my hopes up. The Cardinals have a history of letting their fans down.