The hype surrounding the Arizona Cardinals in 2020 could be much greater than the team’s overall performance on the field
This past Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals managed to do it again. For some odd reason, Kliff Kingsbury‘s crew has made a habit out of playing down to their competition. Could it be that the Cards are simply not as good as many in the media have led us to believe?
Last weekend’s 20-17 loss to the New England Patriots was totally unexpected. The general consensus was that the Cardinals would handle their business on the road, and improve their record to an impressive 7-4. That did not happen, of course, and it’s not the first time this season that the Redbirds lost to a squad that they were expected to defeat.
Back in week three, Arizona dropped a 26-23 decision to the Detroit Lions, a bad team who just fired their head coach. Six weeks later, the inexperienced Miami Dolphins traveled to the desert and registered a 34-31 win over Big Red. Miami’s signal-caller during that contest was Tua Tagovailoa, a rookie who was making just his second NFL start.
After a fast start to the season, the Cards offense has been kept in check over the past couple of weeks. Both the Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks succeeded in keeping quarterback Kyler Murray in the pocket, thus limiting the damage that the young passer has been doing to opposing defenses with his legs. When the rushing aspect of Murray’s game is stymied, the Cardinals scoring attack looks frighteningly mediocre.
Arizona’s defense played well last week during the loss, but New England’s offensive attack is nothing to write home about. Coordinator Vance Joseph‘s group is performing better than they did in 2019, but they still struggle to get off of the field in crucial situations. The Cards allowed the now lead-footed Cam Newton to run for 14 yards on a third down and 13, a critical mistake that played a huge part in the loss to the Patriots.
The Cardinals special teams unit has had it’s problems during the current campaign as well. Zane Gonzalez, the placekicker who shanked a potential game-winning field goal versus New England, needs to replaced pronto. On another note, Christian Kirk may be the worst punt-returner in the history of the franchise.
Arizona has five more games to prove that they’re a legitimate playoff contender. The club’s 6-3 start had many observers thinking a deep run into the postseason was a distinct possibility. Perhaps it would be smart for Cards fans to lower any unreasonable expectations they still may have.