The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2011 season very strong. In their last nine games, they went 7-2 with four overtime wins. Expectations are much higher this season, but did Arizona just get lucky by winning four overtime games?
Arizona has more question marks than sure things in 2012. The quarterback situation is a mess and the running game will be unpredictable.
San Francisco stepped up and took control of the NFC West last season. With Seattle and St. Louis predicted to have down seasons, can Arizona keep winning close games and become a surprise playoff team?
Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Arizona Cardinals. (I’m sorry the photo I used for this is of a shirtless Larry Fitzgerald, but it’s kind of a running joke on this site)
2011 Win/Loss Record: 8-8
Key Additions: CB William Gay, WR Malcolm Floyd, LB Quentin Groves, S James Sanders, C Adam Snyder, RB Javarris James, OT Bobby Massie and CB Jamell Fleming.
Key Losses: RB Chester Taylor, WR Chansi Stuckey, CB Richard Marshall, OG Deuce Lutui and S Sean Considine.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC East and NFC North
Fantasy Sleeper: RB Ryan Williams – Williams is coming off major knee surgery and will miss at least two games to start the season. I don’t trust Beanie Wells as the starting running back and the Cardinals backup options are a mixed bunch. LaRod Stephens-Howling is small and won’t be getting goal line carries. Williams is a guy you need to circle and keep an eye on his progress.
Team Analysis: Head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t decided who will be the starting quarterback. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have shared the snaps in camp so far. I don’t trust Wells to stay healthy or Stephens-Howling to be a big factor. The offensive line is improved and should keep the starting quarterback off his back, whoever ends up with the job. Calais Campbell, Adrian Wilson, Daryl Washington and Patrick Peterson will be tested by facing the AFC East and NFC North this year. The schedule is more difficult this year and I don’t see them improving on their 8-8 record last season.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 6 1/2 (Prediction: UNDER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 5-11