It’s tough to say who will be the worst team in the NFL, especially after only one week, but there are certain teams that you just know will struggle this year. Unfortunately for Arizona Cardinals fans, it looks like your favorite team could take home the No. 1 overall pick instead of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Maybe I’m giving the Cardinals a bad rap, but I’m basing my analysis on the last three seasons and Week 1 of the 2013 season. The facts are the Cardinals have failed to make the playoffs, let alone finish with a winning record, since Kurt Warner retired in 2009. It’s been their lack of a true quarterback that has significantly hindered them, something they at least addressed in the offseason.
When they traded for Carson Palmer to take over under center, I actually began to have high hopes for them. Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards with the Oakland Raiders last season and didn’t have a single wide receiver on the same level of Larry Fitzgerald. Add to that Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd, and there was no way Palmer could have a worse season.
Palmer proved that in the Cardinals Week 1 game against the St. Louis Rams. He threw for 327 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Those 327 yards were spread around to Fitzgerald (eight catches, 80 yards, two touchdowns), Roberts (eight catches, 97 yards) and Floyd (four catches, 82 yards).
Despite the offensive explosion, the Cardinals still found a way to lose, 27-24. They led 24-13 heading into the fourth quarter and gave up 14 unanswered points, including the game winning field goal. The defense failed to come through and that’s going to be their biggest weakness all season.
For the most part, the defense was efficient, until the fourth quarter. Defensive tackle Dan Williams even had a pick-six, but the biggest blunder was the zero sacks on Sam Bradford, which should raise some red flags.
The Rams drafted Bradford in 2010 and have been slowly building their offensive line to protect him, so maybe they finally accomplished that. But if the Cardinals defensive front isn’t getting pressure on the quarterback, then the backs will get picked apart. If they can’t get to Bradford, then how will they get to Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck; all quarterbacks on their schedule this year.
Maybe the Cardinals will turn it around and finish in the middle of the pack or maybe they won’t. They have a tough schedule and I don’t think the offense will be able to carry the defense all season. Sorry Cardinals fans, but at least your prize will be Jadeveon Clowney.