Last-minute bold prediction for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 18

The Arizona Cardinals have made it to the finish line of their 2023 season, so let’s make one final bold prediction to close things out.

Dec 31, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) runs
Dec 31, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) runs / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Perhaps no one’s stock on the Arizona Cardinals has risen more than Trey McBride’s. The second-year tight end may have only found the endzone twice in 2023, but that’s the only real blemish so far to what has been an outstanding season. 

Cardinals quarterbacks have targeted McBride 100 times this year, and that alone deserves recognition because it shows us his sheer ability to get open often. But he’s also caught 78 of those 100 passes, telling us that he is a sure handed tight end who will be a star not just among the Red Sea, but the entire NFL.

So today, we’re concluding our Last-Minute Bold Prediction Series with McBride reaching the 85-catch, 850-yard mark for the year. This means McBride will snag seven out of nine targets today, with 59 receiving yards to go with it, which will catapult him to the aforementioned statistics. 

Arizona Cardinals tight end goes off one more time in 2023

McBride had the benefit of working and learning under Zach Ertz, who was one of the best in the league during his prime years. While Ertz tailed off and the Cardinals eventually released the aging tight end, it’s easy to see McBride’s career trending in the same direction as Ertz’s during the latter’s best days in the NFL.

But for comparison’s sake, Ertz never snagged 78 catches in a season until his fourth year in the league in 2016. Travis Kelce missed most of his rookie season in 2013, and didn’t eclipse the 78-catch mark until his third full season in 2016 when he snagged 85 receptions. Of the current and former star tight ends currently in the game, only George Kittle eclipsed 78 and 85 receptions in his second season when he caught 88 passes.

Perhaps McBride will enjoy a 10-reception game and head into the offseason with Kittle-like expectations for 2024? We don’t know, but let’s keep the bold predictions at least somewhat manageable and say he reaches the 85-catch, 850-yard milestone.

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(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)