2011 NFL Betting Preview: Arizona Cardinals

2011 NFL Betting Preview: Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals (5-11, 5-11 ATS, 4th Place in NFC West)

It’s certainly fair to say that the Arizona Cardinals badly missed Kurt Warner last season. The Cardinals limped to a 5-11 record in the worst division in football. The quarterback trio of Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton just didn’t do the job. The Cardinals averaged just 18.1 points per game, and they were second to last in the NFL in total offense. Can the offseason acquisitions make this team competitive once again?

The biggest move of the offseason for Arizona was obviously the acquisition of quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb was warming the bench for Philadelphia, and he’ll definitely get a chance to show what he is made of in Arizona. While some are down on Kolb based on his limited playing time in Philadelphia, he has the tools necessary to be a very good quarterback. This will be his first real chance to be the clear cut starter for a team, and he’ll have some weapons to work with on the outside. Larry Fitzgerald threatened to leave the team if the Cardinals didn’t upgrade at quarterback, but he is back with the team again and he is thrilled to have Kolb as the team’s signal caller. Reports from training camp say Kolb and Fitzgerald have gelled quickly. The Cardinals also went out and picked up Todd Heap, who should help the team a lot as long as he can stay healthy.

It wasn’t just the quarterback position that was a problem for Arizona last year. The running game ranked dead last in the NFL in yards per game. Beanie Wells will have to pick it up this year, and I think he has a good chance to do just that since he appears to finally be healthy going into a season. Up front the Cardinals were dominated on a weekly basis, and Arizona allowed the fourth most sacks in the NFL last year. This unit must get better so Kolb has the time necessary to find open receivers. If the offensive line continues to be terrible on a weekly basis, this team will continue to underperform.

The Cardinals defense didn’t look good on paper last season, but they were on the field almost all the time. This was a unit that suffered quite a bit because of the inept offense constantly going three and out. Darnell Dockett and Daryl Washington had impressive seasons last year, and I expect them to be good once again. Arizona drafted Patrick Peterson in the first round of the NFL Draft, and I think he has a chance to be the best player from this year’s draft.

Arizona Cardinals 2011-2012 NFL Prediction: 7-9 (3rd Place in NFC West)

The Cardinals still have a big problem on the offensive line, and that will likely keep the offense from improving as much as some would expect. The team did take some positive steps in the offseason, and I would be surprised if they aren’t better this year than they were last season. The schedule starts out pretty easy, and if Arizona can take advantage with a fast start they might have a chance in the wide open NFC West. I think this team is a year or two away, but there should definitely be some marked improvement this season.

Kyle Hunter

is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!