Is There Any Reason To Bet On The Cardinals To Win The NFC West?

Los Angeles Rams

The Arizona Cardinals are going to be one of the teams that every football fan is going to want to watch in Week One. Can Kliff Kingsbury’s offence work in the NFL? Will Kyler Murray’s skill set and talents translate to the NFL stage? Can the Cardinals actually become competitive in the NFC West this season?   

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It has been a few years since they have been, and the rest of the division is going to be pretty decent. But if the Kingsbury/Murray duo lives up to its potential, the Cardinals could be kind of scary.

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Betway Review

The Odds

Of course, being scary and being good enough to win the division are two different things. Murray is expected to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, but otherwise, the bar has been set pretty low for the Cardinals. Their odds to win the NFC West (via BetOnline.ag) are pretty long:

  • Arizona Cardinals    +2500
  • Seattle Seahawks    +275
  • Los Angeles Rams    -175
  • San Francisco 49ers    +500

But that doesn’t mean they can’t win the division if things go right. Russell Wilson doesn’t have a go-to receiver anymore. There is no telling what Todd Gurley is going to be good for this year. Jimmy Garappolo could end up being a dud.

So—can the Cardinals win the NFC West? Let’s take a look at each team and try to figure that out.

San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garappolo will finally get the chance to earn his massive contract this season (assuming he can stay healthy). His offensive line is one of the better ones and should do a good job of protecting him and opening running lanes. Matt Breida emerged as the lead running back last season but will share time with Tevin Coleman and Jerrick McKinnon.

Garoppolo will also have a good trio of receivers in Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and Marquis Goodwin. But his favorite target will likely be tight end George Kittle.

The defence should be better after making several roster upgrades in the offseason. The pass rush will be a lot better, and the linebackers will be more active. Richard Sherman is still one of the best in the business, but the 49ers will need some of their young defensive backs to step up this year.

Los Angeles Rams

After going 13-3 and making it to the Super Bowl last season, it is not hard to see why oddsmakers have the Rams favored to win the division once again. However, there are quite a few red flags.

Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams had one of the better offensive lines in the game last season but lost two of their five starters. While Andrew Whitworth is still around, at 37 (soon to be 38), he could decline any day now. There is no telling what they have in Todd Gurley. His knee problems made him ineffective in the playoffs and there is no telling how long he’ll last in the regular season this year.

On the defensive side, they lost a few people, but they added a few as well. H xcdsE3owever, the guys they added are older and could decline at any moment.

Seattle Seahawks

Despite their failure to upgrade the offensive line, the run game became the best in the NFL last season.   With Doug Baldwin retiring, they may look to rely on the run, even more, this season until they can find out what they have in Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Gary Jennings Jr.

Russell Wilson will keep them competitive, but he can’t win the division by himself.

The Seahawks still have a few good players on defence, but are not a dominant unit anymore . Their pass rush is going to suffer without Frank Clark. They have some decent guys in the secondary, but when facing the aerial assault the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers are going to throw at them, decent is not going to be good enough.

Arizona Cardinals

This year will see the Cardinals do very well and become one of the most exciting teams in football or crash and burn on their way to obscurity. Hiring Kliff Kingsbury was a considerable gamble.  While his offence was always fun to watch, his defence was not—hence losing games and getting fired.

Drafting Kyler Murray is as much of a gamble. He is small, and that will be a factor in his success at the NFL level. Arizona fans are going to hold their breath the first time he gets really hit. But then guys with his style usually don’t fare well at the next level.

Then again, more and more teams are adopting elements of Kingsbury’s offence with great success. If David Johnson can find his game again and if Larry Fitzgerald, Andy Isabella, and Hakeem Butler can get on the same page with Murray, the Cardinals offence could be dangerous.

The Prediction

It is possible to imagine a scenario where the Cardinals are actually a half-way decent team this season. But good enough to win the division? No. Kyler Murray will be fun to watch, but the Cardinals still have more roster holes to fill.

However, don’t count on the Rams repeating as division winners this season. Take the 49ers to win the NFC West instead. The Rams offence has too many question marks around it.