The Arizona Cardinals aren’t winning any more than half their games in 2023, but they won’t be as bad as many people think. Arizona, ironically, has built itself to carry a run-first identity on offense, while their defensive schemes remain shrouded in mystery - a genius move by head coach Jonathan Gannon to give little away at this point.
Because the Cards will see better on-field results than most think and the fact that they have a little bit of luck as to how the schedule played out, they could finish with a 0.500 record in the NFC West. So below, I’ve divided the Cardinals three division rivals into the following categories:
- Sweep - The team who Arizona is likely to win both games against in 2023
- Split - Who I’m projecting the Cards to finish 1-1 against in 2023
- Swept - Who I believe will sweep the Cards in 2023
Why did I categorize the respective teams as such? Keep reading and you will find out.
How will the Arizona Cardinals stack up vs. the NFC West?
Following my NFC West power rankings, there is little doubt that the Arizona Cardinals can sweep the Los Angeles Rams. Following a gauntlet of games early in the season, Arizona will square off with the Rams on the road in Week 6, and they have fared well at SoFi Stadium so far.
They will play the Rams at State Farm Stadium in Week 12, following a stretch against three weaker opponents. While I predicted the Cards to split with the Rams in 2023, given their overall success at SoFi Stadium plus the fact that they play Los Angeles toward the end of a weaker portion of their schedule (putting them at-risk to play to their competition), the Redbirds are in a good position to sweep this division rival.
Even if quarterback Geno Smith can’t emulate his success from 2022, the Seattle Seahawks are still a tough football team and a borderline playoff contender. If Smith repeats, the Arizona Cardinals could still ironically split with the Seahawks.
While they are a good team, Seattle is still a league under the San Francisco 49ers, meaning they are most likely a wildcard candidate. The Cards play the Seahawks in Week 18, and if Seattle is in position to sit their starters, the Redbirds can steal one before they head into the offseason.
There is no way the Cardinals will do anything against the San Francisco 49ers this season unless the injury bug strikes. In early October, the Cards will be flying into Santa Clara to square off what should be a 49ers team getting ready to hit midseason form.
They also play San Francisco in Week 15, and it’s easy to assume the Niners will be vying for the first seed by then. Therefore, expect the Niners to bring their A game in both instances. As much as I would like to see the Cards take one from the 49ers, it’s just not happening this season.