The Arizona Cardinals have reached Week 7, meaning they survived the six-game DeAndre Hopkins suspension. Can he salvage the Cardinals season?
The worst-case scenario occurred last Sunday, and the Arizona Cardinals will head into Week 7 at 2-4. Now that they got DeAndre Hopkins back, not only are they seeing their best receiver return, but they also have a favorable schedule. So despite head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense scoring a measly three offensive points last Sunday, there is actually hope for this organization.
That said, it’s wise to make a midseason prediction regarding the Cardinals and how they may fare following the return of their most talented player, plus the acquisition of another talented receiver. Let’s look deeper.
Predicting the Arizona Cardinals season following Hopkins’ return
Hopkins’ return will start off with another dud for the Cardinals in a Thursday Night affair against the New Orleans Saints. They will lose this one with ease before Kingsbury hopefully gives up playcalling duties.
Once Hopkins and Anderson get acclimated, it will throw off opposing defenses, and the Cardinals will score a win against the rough, tough Minnesota Vikings before schooling Seattle at home. With all the changes going on about the organization, Hopkins should immediately put them at 4-5 on the year.
Then comes a date with the Los Angeles Rams. Last season at SoFi Stadium, the Cardinals won easily with Hopkins in the lineup and we will once again see the same thing here; but maybe not as easily.
They will drop their “home game” in Mexico City to the red-hot 49ers, placing them at 5-6 on the season, before dropping another one to the Los Angeles Chargers, taking them down to 5-7, but still on the outside looking in as far as playoffs are concerned.
They will beat the New England Patriots at home and exorcise those Russell Wilson demons in a memorable affair vs. the Denver Broncos, before losing the home finale to Tom Brady and the Bucs. This will put them at 7-8, but two road wins over the Atlanta Falcons and 49ers will place them at 9-8, and it just might catapult them into the playoffs.
Without Hopkins, I would see the Cardinals, at best, finishing the season at 8-9. But his mere presence plus that of Robbie Anderson will let them finish 7-4 on the season, further proving his overall worth to the team and once again bailing out Kingsbury and company.
Even if the playcalling and clock management remains spotty, look for Hopkins’ presence to put the Cardinals into the best possible position to earn their second straight playoff berth. If the Cardinals defeat New Orleans Thursday, then at 10-7, their playoff chances just got extremely realistic, assuming these predictions become a reality.