Arizona Cardinals 2008 NFL Projection:
Coming into 2008 Boldin is unhappy with his contract and
fans want to see him taken care of.
But the reality is having two great wide receivers probably isn't what
Arizona needs to make the playoffs.
The Cardinals need better defensive play, and a stronger rushing game.
Let's start with the defense. Last season Arizona was one of four teams
in the NFC to surrender at least 399 points. Their partners in crime were
Detroit, Atlanta, and St. Louis.
Certainly the Cardinals would have a more balanced team if they piped more money into their defense,
and their offensive line.
To give credit, the Cardinals made an effort to boost their pass rush
with the signings of LaBoy and Haggans.
This should pay dividends with improved pass defense,
not to mention potential gains from shifting Rolle to free safety.
If nothing else, these moves should prevent another sweeping at the hands of the 49ers
as what happened in 2007.
Statistically, the Cardinals were decent against the run in 2007. But part of their success
was aided by the fact that most teams were looking to throw when playing Arizona.
Unfortunately, this season nose tackle Gabe Watson is missing preseason action
with a busted kneecap. Any drop off in his performance will be hard to handle
as he is the pillar of the rushing defense.
Getting back to the offense--
I like Boldin as much as the next follower of the NFL.
But when looking back over the last few seasons, it's easy to see that
glory in the wide receiver department can only take the Cards so far.
Complicating matters is the push to make Matt Leinart the starter.
Those who read our NFL power rankings last season know we favor Warner.
See #9 ranking.
And even though Warner has been named the starter, we fear a quick hook-- when there probably
shouldn't be any hook at all.
We just don't see the Cardinals being as much of a passing threat with Leinart, which makes it even
more important to have a stronger running game if/when he plays.
There are high hopes for an improved rushing attack in 2008 coming off last season's dismal 29th in the league rating.
The offensive line holds the key. If they can grow up together, then perhaps our record prediction
will be surpassed.
A look at Arizona's 2008 schedule
shows six games versus teams that made the playoffs last season as follows;
The Cardinals also draw
two more games against playoff caliber teams including;
The big question in '08 is how many of the above 8 games can the Cardinals win?
Clearly the Cardinals are set up to defend the pass better in 2008. But will an improvement in their pass defense
be offset by a reduced performance from the offense if Leinart should end up at the helm?
We think it's likely. Overall we're predicting a record of (5-11)
for the 2008 Cardinals. If Warner plays 16 games, then they'll likely exceed this projection.
In our opinion this team would be better off completely
cutting its losses with Leinart, going with Warner until he retires, and using the money spent on Matt
to improve their offensive and defensive lines.
Some may argue against letting Matt go because of potential injury to Warner.
The question is-- how much do you want to spend on a backup quarterback
who isn't succeeding in the NFL?
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Free 2008 NFL Predictions Note:
these now archived 2008 NFL forecasts were made
during the 2008 preseason.
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