The Arizona Cardinals are welcoming a new era with Jonathan Gannon at the helm, including new uniforms. However, there is not much optimism in the Grand Canyon State. After a 4-13 season that landed them a top-three pick, the Cardinals are once again expected to finish toward the bottom of the league’s standings. Going off the recent 2023 schedule release, how many games can they win in Gannon’s first year?
Week 1 9/10 at Washington Commanders: Loss (0-1)
The Cardinals could be without Kyler Murray to start the year. The Commanders also have uncertainty at quarterback, but are the more experienced team and playing at home.
Week 2 9/17 vs New York Giants: Loss (0-2)
Jonathan Gannon’s home opener is against one of the league’s top offensive minds in Brian Daboll. Their chess match will be entertaining, but Saquon Barkley and the G-Men are a tough matchup early in the season.
Week 3 9/24 vs Dallas Cowboys: Loss (0-3)
Micah Parsons will give Murray (or McCoy/Tune) nightmares, and the Arizona defense will struggle to contain Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, and Brandin Cooks. Dallas has the advantage in the trenches and at skill positions.
Week 4 10/1 at San Francisco 49ers: Loss (0-4)
The 49ers won both matchups last year by over 20 points, and have one of the best rosters in the league. San Francisco has too many weapons on offense and too lethal of a pass rush for Arizona to overcome.
Week 5 10/8 vs Cincinnati Bengals: Loss (0-5)
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are seeking a Super Bowl and can’t afford to lose games like this. Once again, the talent differential on the field is too vast for Arizona to overcome.
Week 6 10/15 at Los Angeles Rams: Win (1-5)
Both the Rams and Cardinals are coming off disappointing seasons and have multiple roster holes. Divisional games can be toss-ups, and the home-field advantage in Los Angeles is not as great as other stadiums. Arizona can pick up their first win of the season against their rivals.
Week 7 10/22 at Seattle Seahawks: Loss (1-6)
The Seahawks have one of the best home game environments in the league and will be ready for their divisional rival. They reloaded on offense and got better on defense, while the Cardinals did little to improve their roster. Expect the Seahawks to pick up the win.
Week 8 10/29 vs Baltimore Ravens: Loss (1-7)
Arizona’s social media team threw some shade at Lamar Jackson in their schedule announcement tweets, and that could backfire. The Cardinals have one of the weakest front sevens in the NFL and are vulnerable to Jackson and the Baltimore rushing attack.
Week 9 11/5 at Cleveland Browns: Win (2-7)
Call this one a gut feeling, as weird things can happen in the middle of the season. The Browns will be coming off of a two-week road trip, and then have two divisional matchups after this game. Murray should be fully healthy at this point and has the weapons to lead his team to an exciting victory, even if they are the weaker team on paper.
Week 10 11/12 vs Atlanta Falcons: Loss (2-8)
Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier will run all over Arizona’s defense. This is a winnable game for the Cardinals, but the Falcons are the more complete team and need wins like this to help them in the playoff race.
Week 11 11/19 at Houston Texans: Win (3-8)
The two teams pulled off a blockbuster trade on draft day that sent Houston’s 2024 first-round pick to Arizona. The Cardinals will be extra motivated to win this one, and neither team is exceptional on either side of the ball.
Week 12 11/26 vs Los Angeles Rams: Loss (3-9)
A series split seems likely with these two teams. After projecting a win in week six, the Cardinals pick up a loss to Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp.
Week 13 12/3 at Pittsburgh Steelers: Loss (3-10)
Mike Tomlin always has his teams playing tough football at this point in the season, and the Steelers’ pass rush will give Kyler Murray fits. The Cardinals could find success with their passing game but will need to contain TJ Watt and company in order to do so.
Week 14 12/10 BYE
Week 15 12/17 vs San Francisco: Loss (3-11)
Arizona could keep things interesting coming off of a bye into a divisional home game, but the 49ers have too much of a talent advantage to pick the Cardinals. San Francisco will be deep in their playoff hunt and in a position to complete a season sweep.
Week 16 12/24 at Chicago: Loss (3-12)
This is a game where Jonathan Gannon will need to flash his defensive prowess. Justin Fields is expected to take a leap this year with an improved offensive line and a new top target in DJ Moore. The Bears will fend off the Cardinals who are well out of the playoff race at this point.
Week 17 12/31 at Philadelphia: Loss (3-13)
Jonathan Gannon’s homecoming game could get ugly. The defending NFC champs are loaded at every position group and can simply overpower the Cardinals, especially this late in the season.
Week 18 1/6 or 7 vs Seattle: Loss (3-14)
Seattle expects to be in the playoff conversation and will likely need a win in week 18 for seeding purposes. The Cardinals would love to play spoiler but instead, take one final step toward the first overall pick.
Overall Record: 3-14
Quarterback uncertainty to start the year and holes on the defensive line and in the secondary will hold the Cardinals back from much success this year. They should find themselves in the race for the number one overall pick with not just their own selection, but also Houston’s. Arizona can hope for a rebound season from Murray and strides from their young players on defense as they retool and build for the future.
For more NFL and Arizona Cardinals content, check out the latest from the TWSN team:
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