Second-year quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals had a solid start to the season with a win in San Francisco and a double-digit victory against the Washington Football Team.
Arizona covered each of the spreads: the Cardinals were seven-point underdogs for their 24-20 Week 1 victory and 7.5-point favorites in the 30-15 win in Week 2.
The Cardinals were favored by 4.5 points in Week 3’s home contest against the Detroit Lions but lost, 26-23. However, Arizona still looks ready to have a promising season.
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2020 Cardinals Draft Picks
Isaiah Simmons, LB (Clemson)
Josh Jones, OT (Houston)
Leki Fotu, DT (Utah)
Rashard Lawrence, DT (LSU)
Evan Weaver, LB (California)
Eno Benjamin, RB (Arizona State)
Notable Other New Faces for the Cardinals
Chris Streveler, QB
Kenyan Drake, RB
DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Jordan Thomas, TE (practice squad)
Angelo Blackson, DE
Jordan Phillips, DE
De’Vondre Campbell, LB
Devon Kennard, LB
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB
Curtis Riley, S
Notable Cardinals in New Places
David Johnson, RB – Houston Texans
Damiere Byrd, WR – New England Patriots
Pharoh Cooper, WR – Carolina Panthers
Cassius Marsh, LB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Zach Kerr, DT – Carolina Panthers
Rodney Gunter, DT – released
Cassius Marsh, LB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Joe Walker, LB – Arizona Cardinals
Trevor Williams, CB– Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Jones, CB – Detroit Lions
Notable Cardinals on the Injury Report
DeAndre Hopkins, WR – questionable for Week 4 with an ankle injury
Christian Kirk, WR – questionable for Week 4 with a groin injury
D.J. Foster, RB – questionable for Week 4 with a quadriceps injury
Maxx Williams, TE – placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury; expected to return for Week 6
Mason Cole, C – questionable for Week 4 with a hamstring injury
Rees Odhiambo, OT – questionable for Week 4 with a chest injury
Brett Toth, OT – placed on injured reserve for an undisclosed reason
Devon Kennard, OLB – questionable for Week 4 with a calf injury
Tanner Vallejo, LB – questionable for Week 4 with an illness
Dennis Gardeck, LB – questionable for Week 4 with a foot injury
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB – questionable for Week 4 with a head injury
Robert Alford, CB – placed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury
Budda Baker, SS – out for Week 4 with a thumb injury; expected to return for Week 5
Chris Banjo, FS – out for Week 4 with a hamstring injury; expected to return for Week 5
Jalen Thompson, FS – placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury; expected to return for Week 5
Cardinals Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Marcus Gilbert, OT
Cardinals Offense Predictions
Kyler Murray took 48 sacks in 2019, and no other quarterback was sacked more than he was last year. The 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award winner has the chance to become a top-10 quarterback in the NFL, but he will have to bring down his number of turnovers.
After finishing with 20 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 5-10-1 record last year, Murray has five interceptions already in 2020. On the bright side, Murray leads all quarterbacks with four rushing touchdowns after having just four all of last year. He also leads all NFL players with 7.2 yards per rushing attempt this season.
It will be necessary for Murray to avoid throwing multiple interceptions in the future. Murray threw three of his five 2020 interceptions in the loss to the Lions. It was his fourth multi-interception game, and the Cardinals are now 0-4 in those contests.
Unfortunately, injuries to wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk do not help Murray’s cause for Week 4’s game at Carolina, which begins a stretch of three consecutive road contests. It will be necessary for the Cardinals to continue rushing the ball well.
After setting a new franchise record with more than five yards per rush last year, the Cardinals stand at the ninth position in league with 4.7 yards per rushing attempt this season.
Cardinals Running Backs: Can Both Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds Figure Into the Passing Game This Season?
While Kyler Murray is averaging more than seven yards per carry, starting running back, Kenyan Drake is averaging 4.1 yards per touch with 54 rushes and five receptions. Drake is one of two Cardinals running backs and one of five Cardinals offensive players with a touchdown this season.
Drake averaged 3.4 receptions per game in 2018 and 2019, so it will be interesting to see if he can get more involved in the passing game. Meanwhile, Chase Edmonds (4.6 yards per touch) has 92 yards from scrimmage, including eight receptions for 49 yards. He is the other Arizona running back with a touchdown. He also has six kick returns for 132 yards but is the only Cardinals player with multiple fumbles this season.
Cardinals Wide Receivers: Can the Arizona Receiving Group Stay Healthy Throughout the Season and Help the Cardinals Into the Playoffs?
The Cardinals have just two wide receivers with double-digit receptions through three games in 2020, and one of those players may sit for Week 4. Unfortunately, the player with the questionable tag is DeAndre Hopkins, whom the Cardinals acquired from the Houston Texans in exchange for running back David Johnson.
Draft picks were also swapped in the trade, and Arizona ended up drafting LSU nose tackle Rashard Lawrence, who was a part of the 2019 national championship team, with the No. 131 overall pick.
In his first year in Arizona, The Cardinals and Hopkins agreed to a two-year, $54.5 million contract extension, and Hopkins is the league’s receiving leader with 32 catches and 356 yards in 2020. He also has the most double-digit yard catches with 18 this season. Meanwhile, veteran pass-catcher Larry Fitzgerald, the team’s receiving leader for the previous five seasons, is second on the team with 12 receptions but does not have a touchdown.
Second-year wide receiver Andy Isabella has six receptions, 114 receiving yards, and a team-high two receiving touchdowns. If Hopkins and Christian Kirk do not play in Week 4, Isabella and Fitzgerald will receive a bunch of targets.
Cardinals Tight Ends: The Return of Maxx Williams Should Bolster the Tight End Group in Arizona
Dan Arnold and Darrell Daniels were the available tight ends for Arizona in the first three weeks of the season, but they were not utilized as pass-catchers. Arnold has five catches for 58 yards while Daniels has brought in just two receptions for 24 yards.
Arnold, unfortunately, also has a lost fumble. It appears that they will be blocking more than catching this season. Maxx Williams, who expects to return around Week 6, should return and help the tight end group with blocking and should catch some footballs as well.
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Cardinals Defense Predictions
The Cardinals defensive unit is better than their offensive unit through three games this season. Arizona’s defense has allowed the seven-fewest points and yards in the league. Arizona has allowed just one rushing touchdown this season, and that is the lowest of any rushing defense in the league.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who signed a one-year deal close to the beginning of the 2020 season, and outside linebacker Devon Kennard may both be out for the Cardinals on Sunday, which could hinder Arizona in the contest against the Panthers. Kirkpatrick reunited with Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who is in his second year with the team.
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Cardinals Special Teams Predictions
Kicker Zane Gonzalez is in his third season with the Cardinals after struggling with the Cleveland Browns. In 2019, he made 31 of his 35 field goal attempts, a significant improvement from his 17 makes in 25 attempts for Cleveland. In his time with the Cardinals, he has made 47 of his 50 extra points after making 28 in 31 attempts for the Browns.
Gonzalez was drafted by the Browns No. 224 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft after going to Arizona State. The native of Deer Park, Texas, was a unanimous All-American in 2016 when he won the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best kicker. He also was a First Team All-Pac-12 selection in 2013 and 2016.
Cardinals Head Coach Predictions
Kliff Kingsbury is in his second season as the Cardinals head coach, and it looks like he will be having a very strong year in 2020. Arizona’s 2018 record was 3-13, and in Kingsbury’s first year with the team (2019), he knocked three losses off the team’s record. If Kingsbury can finish with a record above .500 in 2020, then the season would be considered a success.
The last time that the Cardinals made the playoffs was 2015 when Bruce Arians was the coach. During that time, Kingsbury was the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Kingsbury also was an offensive coach at Houston. Kingsbury does have a championship ring from Super Bowl XXXVIII. Although he did not play for the New England Patriots that year, he was on the roster as a quarterback.
Cardinals Predictions for Week 4
The 2-1 Cardinals opened as a 3.5-point favorite against the 1-2 Panthers for the 1:00 pm eastern time contest. The line has dropped to three points, as bookmakers worry about the prospect of Arizona’s injuries. Without Christian McCaffrey, Mike Davis was able to replace him and was a large part of Carolina’s first victory of the season in Week 3.
The Panthers defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 21-16, behind a 13-yard touchdown from Teddy Bridgewater to Davis and five field goals from Joey Slye. If the Cardinals red zone defense can be strong against the Panthers in Week 4, Arizona should be a good bet.
Cardinals Predictions for 2020 Season
The 2020 over/under for the Cardinals was 7.5 wins at the beginning of the season, so those that took the over are looking good through three games. Surprisingly, Arizona’s +3500 Super Bowl futures odds remain low.
The Cardinals have the lowest odds in the NFC West division, but the odds for Arizona to win the division are only +500. While odds for the divisional crown do not carry much value, their Super Bowl odds and NFC Champion odds (+1500) do have value.
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