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Cardinals Have Improved Every Year Under Arians

Arizona set a franchise record last year with 13 wins and came just one game shy of making it to the final game of the year after getting slapped around by the Panthers in the NFC championship. The Cardinals should be right back in contention this year as they return most of their defense that was one of the most aggressive in the league last year. On offense they have a budding star at running back in David Johnson and have a quarterback in Carson Palmer who had the third-highest QB rating of qualified players in 2015.

When asked who will make up the NFC half of the Super Bowl matchup this year, I keep coming back to this Cardinals team. The depth Arizona has at the running back and wide receiver positions is among the league’s best and the additions of Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche to an already stout front make for a frightening defensive line – add the Honey Badger to the mix and this team could be a well-lubricated take-away machine.

Super Bowl +1200

The Cardinals have never won the Super Bowl and have made only one appearance in the season’s final game in the 50 years of Super Bowl history. That being said, the Cardinals have improved their record every year that Bruce Arians has been at the head coaching helm and have a chance to finish the regular season first in their conference. This is significant because teams who have earned a first-round bye in the last 20 years have gone on to win the Super Bowl 12 times.

NFC Championship +550

If you think the Cardinals will get that first-round bye, like I’m predicting them to, they will have an excellent shot to take the NFC championship. Twenty-nine out of the last 40 teams that earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs have gone on to win their conference championship.

Carson Palmer, who is a 12-year veteran, had only started two playoff games prior to his 2015 postseason collapse against the Panthers, so he should be better for the experience. If Palmer can stay healthy and lead his team to another NFC championship game, it will be hard not to back him with such a dynamic group of offensive backs supporting him.

NFC West +140

The Seahawks are expected to give Arizona more competition in the NFC West this year but are getting way too much respect, in my opinion. the Cardinals should defend their title and they could do it quite easily. Arians has never had more than six losses in a season since he made his head coaching debut for the Colts in 2012 in the wake of Chuck Pagano.

Over/Under Win total - 9.5

Although they have the eighth-toughest schedule in the league based on last year’s records and have to play the Panthers and Falcons after their respective bye weeks, the Cards get to play the Brady-less Patriots at home in Week 1 and will avoid Century Link Field until Week 15.

It’s a tough schedule at first glance but 9.5 is a very conservative total for a team that has improved since going 13-3 the year before.

Carson Palmer for MVP +1600

Much of the Cards’ Super Bowl chances rely on whether Palmer can return to the form that saw him post ridiculous numbers in 2015. Because of this, Arizona’s gunslinger has been tagged with a +1600 line on Bovada to win this year’s MVP award. Palmer finished tied with Tom Brady for second in MVP voting last season so there is some definite value in this QB who has unlimited weapons at his disposal in 2016.

2016 Arizona Cardinals Futures Odds
Super Bowl+1200
NFC Championship+550
NFC West+140
Win Totals 9.5

Odds as of August 18 at Bovada