Will the Cardinals make the playoffs?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) – After winning 10 games in 2013, will the Arizona Cardinals push for a playoff spot in 2014?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Cardinals’ current odds to make the playoffs are 3/1, while their odds to miss the postseason are sitting at 1/4. Their regular season win total is also sitting at 7.5 and their odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl are currently 40/1.
The Cardinals will return their core pieces on offense, including quarterback Carson Palmer, receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, and young running back Andre Ellington. Palmer thrived in Bruce Arians’ vertical offense a year ago and assuming he can stay healthy, there’s no reason the veteran signal-caller will take a step back. The signing of free agent Jared Veldheer coupled with the return of injured second-year guard Jonathan Cooper will also benefit the O-line.
The problem is on defense where linebacker Daryl Washington was suspended back in May and is likely to miss the entire 2014 season. When on the field and not acting up off it, Washington is a difference maker. Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and newcomers Antonio Cromartie and Deone Bucannon form a nice core, but without Washington and Tyrann Mathieu (rehabbing from ACL surgery), there are some holes that Arizona will have to deal with.
The bigger problem is the fact that the Cardinals play in the toughest division in the NFL. Not only is the Seahawks coming off a Super Bowl victory over the Broncos, but the 49ers have also made the NFC title game the last three years. The Rams are also a team on the rise and when six of your 16 games are coin flips, it’s difficult to qualify for the postseason. There’s good value in the Cards’ odds to make the playoffs (3/1), but their outlook still looks somewhat bleak.