In order to give a proper evaluation of the Arizona Cardinals in the upcoming 2013 NFL season, we must first take a look at their 16-game regular season schedule. Glaringly, the Cardinals must battle each the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers twice in the NFC West. So, in my mind, even with Carson Palmer at quarterback and Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver, Arizona will go 0-4 against these vaunted opponents. Adding the electrifying Patrick Peterson to the mix on both offense and defense should create a stir. However, the Seahawks and 49ers will once again be the elite teams within the division.
If the Cardinals can beat that other team in the NFC West, the St. Louis Rams twice, I give you the best case scenario for Arizona in the upcoming 2013 season. Yes, even with the amazing Fitzgerald with the best hands in the league and the aforementioned Peterson getting the football from Palmer, I see the Cardinals going 8-8 at best. Other than their division matchups, they play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as in Philly against the Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s not forget critical home games versus both the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans. As you can see, the slate of games on the schedule for the Cardinals this year is no picnic.
Well, time to give you the worst case scenario for Arizona in this upcoming 2013 season. I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, yet it’s easy to see the team finishing with a record of 5-11. Carson still needs to build chemistry with both Larry and Patrick within the framework of the offense, and I don’t see their overall defensive ranking of 12th in the league in 2012 improving. The Cardinals will go toe-to-toe with the Rams in both divisional games. However, with St. Louis’ revamped roster and a healthy Sam Bradford at quarterback for the entire season, there is a distinct possibility that Arizona could lose both games against the Rams this season.
So, either with the best or worst case scenario intact for the 2013 NFL season, the Cardinals will fail to make the playoffs and will once again be building for another year.