The Arizona Cardinals made it into the playoffs last season under head coach Bruce Arians. They didn’t have either starting quarterback Carson Palmer or backup Drew Stanton for the postseason, so they had to limp into the Wild Card game with quarterback Ryan Lindley. Things didn’t go Arizona’s way against Carolina and they were one and done.
The Cardinals made some upgrades over the offseason. They were able to add linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Sean Weatherspoon and stole three-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati away from rival 49ers.
Seattle has been the toast of the NFL the last few seasons. Can Arizona push them and take the NFC West crown?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Arizona Cardinals.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 11-5
Key Additions: LB LaMarr Woodley, G Mike Iupati, LB Sean Weatherspoon, TE Jermaine Gresham, DT Corey Peters, DE Cory Redding, C A.Q. Shipley & QB Chandler Harnish
Key Losses: CB Antonio Cromartie, DE Darnell Dockett, LB Larry Foote, DT Dan Williams, TE Rob Housler, TE John Carlson, LB Sam Acho, QB Ryan Lindley, LB John Abraham, RB Jonathan Dwyer & G Paul Fanaika
2015 Draft Picks: OT D.J. Humphries, DE Markus Golden, RB David Johnson, DT Rodney Gunter, DE Shaq Riddick, WR J.J. Nelson & TE Gerald Christian
Non-Division Schedule: AFC North, NFC North & (New Orleans/Philadelphia)
Fantasy Sleeper: WR John Brown – Brown could help ease the burden that has weighted Larry Fitzgerald down over the years. I do like Michael Floyd, but Brown could become a PPR stud. He’s fast and should become a nice open target down the middle with a nice yards after catch. He will grow to become a reliable target for Carson Palmer. He’s worth a grab in the later rounds.
Offense – QB Carson Palmer, RB Andre Ellington, WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Michael Floyd, WR John Brown, TE Darren Fells, LT Jared Velbeer, LG Mike Iupati, C Ted Larsen, RG Jonathan Cooper & RT Bobby Massie
Defense – DE Calais Campbell, DT Coey Peters, DE Frostee Rucker, LOLB LaMarr Woodley, ILB Kevin Minter, ILB Sean Weatherspoon, ROLB Matt Shaughnessy, CB Patrick Peterson, CB Jarraud Powers, SS Rashad Johnson & FS Tyrann Mathieu
Team Analysis: The scheduling gods were not kind to the Cardinals. I like Arizona’s team this season, but their schedule is just beyond brutal. Their non-division schedule includes the NFC North and AFC North, both divisions that are much-improved this season. San Francisco lost a step this offseason with all the retirements, suspensions and coaching change, but Arizona will only be on the borderline of making the playoffs. The NFC West may only have one representative in the postseason (Seattle). Unlike last season, they will not see the postseason in 2015. Arizona is still a team on the rise, but their record at the end of the year may not reflect the talent on the roster.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 8.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 8-8 (2nd in NFC West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.