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2014 Arizona Cardinals Odds | Season Preview | NFL Predictions

2014 Cardinals NFL Handicapping

Cardinals Will Take A Step Back In Year Two Under Arians

The Arizona Cardinals went 10-6 in their first year under head coach Bruce Arians but finished third in their division and failed to make the playoffs.

That is testament to life in the NFC West where the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have become perennial championship contenders and the St. Louis Rams are climbing fast.

The Cardinals upgraded at key positions in the offseason with the hope that the moves they made will be enough to get back to the postseason.

However, it won’t get any easier in the NFC West and Arizona could have a tough time avoiding a letdown.

2014 Arizona Cardinals Team Preview/Predictions

  • 2013 Record: 10-6
  • ATS Record: 10-5-1

2014 Cardinals Futures

  • Super Bowl Odds: +3500
  • Conference Odds: +1800
  • NFC West Odds: +800
  • 2014 NFL Regular Season Wins: 7.5

Arians is an elite offensive mind and he helped put together a group that finished 12th in total yards a year ago. Carson Palmer threw for 4,274 passing yards and 24 touchdowns but his 22 interceptions were a career-high and he is one year older.

Palmer has a big arm and can make all of the throws but his mobility is limited and he tends to force things when under pressure. Arizona upgraded the left tackle position with free-agent signing Jared Veldheer and will plug in 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Cooper at left guard after he missed all of last year with a broken leg.

Bobby Massie will move over to the right tackle spot while Lyle Sendlein returns at center and Paul Fanaika takes over at right guard on what should be an improved offensive line.

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Larry Fitzgerald isn’t the same receiver he was three years ago but he can still contribute at a high level and Michael Floyd broke through in 2013 to lead Arizona with 1,041 receiving yards.

The Cardinals signed free agent Ted Ginn to take over the No. 3 role after Andre Roberts moved on in the offseason but there isn’t much depth beyond that with rookie third-round pick John Brown set to challenge for the No. 4 spot.

Arizona drafted Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas in the second round to start immediately and he should be an upgrade over Jake Ballard.

2013 sixth-round pick Andre Ellington proved his worth as a rookie a year ago and becomes the undisputed No. 1 ahead of fellow second-year pro Stepfan Taylor after veteran Rashard Mendenhall retired.

The Cardinals’ defense ranked No. 1 against the run and sixth overall a year ago. That’s even more impressive when you consider they went up against Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks as well as Frank Gore and the 49ers twice each.
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Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles put his players in the best position to succeed and there was improvement at every level beginning with a defensive line that features ends Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell. Dockett bounced back with a strong year in 2013 and Campbell played at a Pro Bowl level.

Nose tackle Dan Williams isn’t as dominant but he is the big body in the middle that holds the line together.

Arizona will need to plug the hole left at the second level by the departure of inside linebacker Karlos Dansby who was one of the best players on the defense last season. Daryl Washington is solid but could miss time due to suspension so Kevin Minter and Larry Foote will likely both see time as starters at least early in the season.

Matt Shaughnessy will start on the strong side while veteran John Abraham is expected to be ready to start on the weak side after missing time in camp because of injury.

The Cardinals solidified their secondary with the addition of rookie first-round pick Deone Bucannon.

Bucannon is a physical strong safety that can cover tight ends and set the tone against the run and that makes him the perfect fit next to second-year free safety ball hawk Tyrann Mathieu.

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was signed in free agency to start opposite one of the league’s best cover men in Patrick Peterson with Justin Bethel and Bryan McCann filling out the depth chart at the position.

Arizona turned heads with 10 wins in Arians’ first season as head coach but even though they return most of their key starters and added throughout a strong offseason it will be hard to match last season’s win total.

The Cardinals face a tough schedule that includes six games against the Seahawks, 49ers, and Rams and it’s hard to bank on Palmer to lead this team to back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins no matter who the coaches are.

Look for Arizona to take a step back in 2014 under the weight of a tougher slate and heightened expectations.

2014 Cardinals Predictions

  • Place they’ll finish in NFC West: 4th
  • Place they’ll finish in NFC Conference: 12th
  • Over/Under Wins Prediction: UNDER


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