19. Arizona Cardinals
The projections for the Arizona Cardinals earning a playoff berth have subsided after the Cardinals have lost two consecutive games to the Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers, two teams they should have defeated on paper.
At 2-2, the Arizona Cardinals continue to have an easier schedule than other NFC West teams. But after dropping games to the Lions and Panthers, games against NFC and AFC East opponents suddenly do not appear to be automatic wins. I will give the Cardinals credit for shocking the San Francisco 49ers in the season opener. Since that game, the Cardinals are 1-2 against Washington, Carolina, and Detroit, teams they should have all beaten.
On paper, the Arizona Cardinals should be looking at a 6-1 record when they enter their bye week on November 1st. Instead, the team will likely be no better than 4-3 and could be 3-4. They travel to the New York Jets, to the Dallas Cowboys, and then return home to host the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks. The Cards can expect to do no better than three wins in the NFC West this season, so they desperately need to win these next two games.
The Cards are better, yes. But coming off a 5-10-1 season, they could end the season at 7-9 and still be better. Right now, that’s where the Cardinals will likely end up. They are in the softest part of their schedule and only have 2-2 to show for it.