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The Cardinals had a shot at the playoffs going into the last game of the season but the Rams, using a backup quarterback, defeated them 18-7. That loss was tough to take but a more pressing problem might be keeping Kyler Murray healthy. There is no doubt he is a special player but durability is always going to be a question. The Cardinals made some interesting offseason moves and have a chance to be better but can they compete with this division.
Murray, when healthy, is a special player with his feet as well as his arm. He threw for 3971 yards with 26 TDs and ran for 819 more and 11 additional touchdowns. Those are astounding statistics and he has weapons around him. The running game suffered a blow when Kenyan Drake left. That leaves Chase Edmonds as the starter and they added James Connor through free agency. The receivers include DeAndre Hopkins (115 catches for 1407 yards) and Christian Kirk. It looks like Larry Fitzgerald will hang it up after an outstanding career. The offensive line is solid and should benefit from the signing of free agent Brian Winters.
The defensive line needed some help so the Cardinals nabbed J.J. Watt from the Texans. If he stays healthy, he will help a group that includes third-year end Zach Allen. The linebackers appear to be led by Isaiah Simmons and Jordan Hicks. However, No. 1 draft pick Zaven Collins will see action soon. The secondary has leading tackler Budda Baker (118 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions). The Cardinals lost Patrick Peterson in free agency but signed Malcolm Butler who led all cornerbacks in solo tackles with 90.
Must Wins: Houston, Carolina, Indianapolis, at Jacksonville, at Detroit
Toss-Up Games: Minnesota, San Francisco, Green Bay, LA Rams, Seattle, at Chicago,
Probable Losses: at Tennessee, at LA Rams, at Cleveland, at San Francisco, at Seattle, at Dallas
Summary in Two Sentences: Arizona missed a great chance to make the playoffs in 2020 and couldn’t do it. They may not be as good this year and they have no chance if they can’t keep Murray healthy.
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