The Arizona Cardinals have the longest odds in the NFL to win it all, and there are plenty of reasons why little is expected of the rebuilding NFC West franchise.
The Arizona Cardinals finished bottom of the NFC West last season in what was the final year of the failed Kliff Kingsbury experiment, with both the head coach and general manager, Steve Keim, being given the boot following yet another underwhelming campaign.
Monti Ossenfort is the new general manager, charged with rebuilding the franchise, but with the Cardinals' star names either gone or wanting to leave, their first-choice quarterback likely to miss the season and a rookie head coach in town, things may get worse before they get better for Arizona.
Click here to read all NFL Season Outlooks for the 2023/24 season.
|What||2023/24 NFL Season|
|When||September 8, 2023 - February 11, 2024|
|Cardinals Odds||To Win Division +22000, To Win Conference +6600, To Win SBLVIII +15000|
Fourth in the NFC West (4-13)
After a 2022/23 season dogged by losing, injuries and off-field controversy, the Cardinals are hoping to eliminate the latter two of those problems at the start of what they believe will be a short rebuild.
The ACL injury suffered by quarterback Kyler Murray towards the end of last season, months after he’d signed a five-year, $230.5 million extension, means they are unlikely to start this campaign with the former number one draft pick.
And it may be the case that they don’t risk Murray at all this season on what is a young, inexperienced team.
Murray is the future of the franchise and teams that have a top-level quarterback on their rosters can bounce back quickly from poor periods.
So this is a season about making sure this roster is ready to be competitive when Murray returns.
They look to be off to a positive start in that regard with Ossenfort receiving praise for his draft performance which saw him boost the number of picks the team had to nine and secure an extra first-round pick in 2024.
They are likely to pick up more draft capital and create cap space throughout the season with both wide receiver Deandre Hopkins and safety Budda Baker amongst the senior players on the trade block, while Isiah Simmons won’t have his fifth-year option picked up.
Arizona should make room for their young talent to grow, while there’s enough know-how left on the roster, particularly on an offence that includes running back James Conner, wideout Marquise Brown and tight end Trey McBride to win a few games.
Their win total is set at 5.5, which may prove a stretch with the Cards -135 to go under that mark in what could be a painful season results-wise, but one of growth in other regards.
Carolina Panthers Season Outlook
While the NFL schedule isn’t expected to be finalized until mid-May, the Cardinals do at least know who they will be playing next season.
Arizona will play eight games at their State Farm Stadium home and nine on the road.
Alongside their usual home and away clashes with their NFC West rivals, the Cardinals will also be facing all four teams in the NFC East and AFC North.
Rounding off the schedule are games against other sides who finished last in their respective divisions last year - the Houston Texans, Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons.
The man charged with trying to put together a competitive team with what he’s been left is Jonathan Gannon.
Gannon has replaced Kingsbury as Arizona's head coach with his predecessor having set a low bar, posting a record of 28-37-1.
Gannon arrives having spent the last two years as the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator, helping them reach the Super Bowl last season.
The Eagles boasted one of the league’s most formidable defenses under Gannon, ranking second in total defence in 2022 and nearly breaking the NFL’s all-time sack record.
Before his success in Philly, Gannon has coached at Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons during his 15 years in the NFL.
CB Kris Boyd (Minnesota Vikings)
CB Rashad Fenton (Kansas City Chiefs)
DT Carlos Watkins (Dallas Cowboys)
LB L.J. Collier (Seattle Seahawks)
LB Kyzir White (Philadelphia Eagles)
WR Zach Pascal (Philadelphia Eagles)
C Hjalte Froholdt (Cleveland Browns)
DE J.J. Watt (retired)
DE Zach Allen (Denver Broncos)
CB Byron Murphy (Minnesota Vikings)
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (Carolina Panthers)
TE Maxx Williams
OL Joshua Miles (Atlanta Falcons)
LB Markus Golden
|Offensive MVP||Marquise Brown|
|Defensive MVP||Budda Baker|
|Top rookie||B.J. Ojulari|
|Breakout star||Trey McBride|
With Murray injured and Hopkins potentially leaving, wide receiver Marquise Brown is likely to see a heavy workload this season after a productive 2022/23.
Injuries restricted Brown's game time, but when he was on the field he shone, managing 709 yards and three touchdowns.
Most importantly, when Hopkins was out, Brown stepped up to be the team's number one wide receiver.
The Cards do have some decent options on offence with second-year tight end Trey McBride amongst them.
After Zach Ertz went down with a season-ending injury, McBride took over as tight end one and after a strong finish to last year, big things are expected in 2023.
On defence, Arizona are keen to keep Budda Baker, who was the heart and leader of the defence last season.
Playing through multiple injuries at times and showing he is an excellent asset wherever he is used, Baker could have another big year in Gannon’s defensive scheme.
Gannon will need to scheme up a pass rusher with some inexperienced players, amongst them second round pick B. J. Oulari.
Although not a top-level athlete, Oulari has a bag of tricks to get to the quarterback and should have a role to play on the defensive line.