Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort pulled off one heck of a trade during the NFL Draft back in April. Taking advantage of a Houston Texans club that wanted to move up in Round 1, the longtime front-office executive worked out a sweet deal that included Houston's opening-round selection in 2024. What made the agreement even more enticing for the Cards is the fact that the Texans were expected to be really bad during the current campaign.
Much to the Cardinals' chagrin, Houston appears to be a much more competitive squad than many experts gave them credit for. Texans signal-caller C.J. Stroud, the second-overall choice of this year's draft, has the offense playing well. Wideouts Nico Collins and Tank Dell (another rookie) have combined for 695 receiving yards and five touchdowns through the campaign's first four contests.
This past Sunday, the Houston defense turned in their most impressive performance of the young season. The group allowed just two field goals during a 30-6 clobbering of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many believed that the Texans would be winless at this point, but head coach Demeco Ryans has led the team to an impressive 2-2 start.
Arizona Cardinals have put forth a valiant effort in every matchup thus far in 2023
Arizona, for their part, is also exceeding expectations. A 1-3 record does not fairly reflect the effort of the Redbirds over the first quarter of the year. In fact, head coach Jonathan Gannon and company could just as easily have three wins heading into Week 5.
That being said, it now looks extremely possible that the Cards could turn some projected losses into triumphs. Suddenly, several of the club's upcoming opponents don't look so intimidating. The NFL is quickly finding out that Gannon's version of "Big Red" is far from a pushover.
A handful of prognosticators believed that it was entirely possible that the Cardinals would secure the first two selections of the '24 draft. That eyebrow-raising prediction is looking less likely with each passing week. All of those who would like to see USC quarterback Caleb Williams in an Arizona uniform may not get their wish after all.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)