Maybe it’s not that bold. But to NFL.com’s Adam Schein, picking the Arizona Cardinals to miss the playoffs in 2022 is a surprise.
That’s because Schein, in his nine bold predictions for the upcoming NFL season, admits he loves the Cardinals’ roster.
I love the roster that Steve Keim has assembled. But there are bad vibes around this team, which happens to play in the rugged NFC West, home of the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams and the uber-talented 49ers.
Kyler Murray will get his contract this summer. Keim told me as much after the draft on SiriusXM Radio. … But can Kyler truly lead a team? Can he handle adversity? Can he avoid the winter collapses that have plagued the Cards under Kliff Kingsbury? And this season, can he still come out the gates hot despite DeAndre Hopkins’s six-game suspension? I have a lot of questions about the undeniably talented passer.
Schein still likes the Rams and 49ers rosters better than Arizona’s.
That’s where the margin for error gets thin when considering a string of games without Hopkins and those obivous questions about Kingsbury or Murray leading the Cardinals through adversity.
Four of Arizona’s first six games without Hopkins, who will serve a PED suspension, come against playoff teams from 2021.
In the first three games alone, the Cardinals face a Kansas City Chiefs squad that made the AFC Championship and is led by a perennial MVP candidate in Patrick Mahomes.
Then it’s a road game against the Las Vegas Raiders, who upgraded this offseason by adding former Arizona pass rusher Chandler Jones and former Green Bay Packers wideout Davante Adams. Week 3 is a home tilt against the Rams.
It sure looks like the Cardinals will have to fight through early adversity. Even if they surprise and get out of that in relatively good shape, they have to knock the monkey off their back after three tumbles to end regular seasons in Kingsbury’s first three years on the job.
Arizona has gone a combined 9-17 after Week 8 in the regular season from 2019-21.