NFL: 2 Bold Predictions for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016
Formed in 1989, the Cardinals are the oldest professionally run football team in the country. Despite being one of the longest serving teams in the league, the Cardinals have not enjoyed a lot of success. Over the course of the franchise’s history, the Cardinals have made only ten playoff appearances and have won seven division titles, one conference title and two pre-merger NFL championships.
In the last few years however, the franchise’s fortunes have improved. The team reached its first Super Bowl in 2008, where it narrowly lost a closely contested game against the Steelers 23-27. Since then, the Cardinals have gone on to make three postseason appearances and have won two division titles.
Last season, the Cardinals reached the NFC Championship game, but disappointingly lost to the Carolina Panthers. Expectations were at an all time high after the Cardinals had defeated Green Bay in overtime in the previous round of the playoffs, but they fell short and failed to win the NFC.
Arizona has been building a highly competitive team for the past few years now. The project has basically hinged on intelligent draft selections and it seems as though the team is near completion. As a result, most people think Arizona will once again be one of the top two teams in the NFC in 2016. However, the other teams have strengthened their squads as well and they will definitely not roll over easily in the race for the NFC Championship.
In lieu of the upcoming season, we would like to make 2 bold predictions regarding the Arizona Cardinals, which we think will prove to be true over the course of the season.
David Johnson Will Rush More Than 2000 Yards
David Johnson has been a revelation for the Cardinals ever since he joined the team during the off season draft last year. A third round pick, Johnson is a prime example of the Cardinals’ shrewd business in the NFL draft. The running back put up strong performances when given the chance and displayed intelligent playmaking skills as well. We predict, that if the Cardinals use Johnson like they did in the postseason last year, and he remains fit and available for the entirety of the season, then he will accumulate more than 2000 rushing yards.
During last season, Johnson had to share duties in his position and had limited playing time till the very end of the season. However, he still rushed for 581 yards and scored eight touchdowns. He also caught thirty six passes for a further 457 yards, taking his tally higher than 1000 yards for last season. Considering it was his rookie year and the limited game time he had, it was a remarkable season for him. Looking at these figures, it’s not that hard to believe he won’t make 2000 yards this season.
The Cardinals Reach the NFC Championship Game
The Cardinals reached the 2015 NFC Championship game after a stellar regular season. The team posted a 13-3 regular season and won the NFC West en route to the championship game. This season, it will not be so easy to maintain their dominance over the NFC West, because the Seahawks will be gunning for the top spot in the division themselves.
In the conference, the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams have both improved their squads, while the Cardinals’ Divisional round opponents in 2015, the Green Bay Packers have also strengthened their side with a solid draft and the acquisition of Jared Cook.
However, the signs do look positive for the Cardinals and it does seem as though they will make it out of a highly competitive conference pool to reach the NFC Championship game. Whether or not they win it, is a different matter altogether. Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers are stinging from their loss in Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos and they will be on a mission to go all the way this season. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 15-49 in the championship game last year, a score line which highlights the difference in quality between the sides. But the Cardinals have had a year to prepare for such a challenge and it will very exciting to see if they can pull it off and reach the Super Bowl this year.