The Arizona Cardinals will likely end up with a top ten draft pick, but it’s hard to call the 2019 season a disappointment. The team hired Kliff Kingsbury and then drafted Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Expectations were high, and while the team will not sniff the playoffs, there’s a lot to like about what Kingsbury and Murray put together on offense. Arizona struggled through a three-game losing streak and a six-game losing streak, but got a big win over Seattle in Week 16 to carry some momentum forward.
The team made a rather surprising move at the trade deadline, acquiring running back Kenyan Drake from the Miami Dolphins. They were shorthanded with Chase Edmonds and David Johnson injured, but it was still a surprisingly significant addition for a team that was a long shot for a playoff berth. Drake took over as the team’s starting running back even after Johnson and Edmonds got healthy. Drake is a free agent this offseason, so we’ll see if the Cardinals are prepared to turn him into their main running back in 2020.
The team is developing playmakers on offense, but they badly need to improve an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked 20th in adjusted line yards and 27th adjusted sack rate. Given Murray’s athleticism, it will be interesting to see how GM Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury approach the line this offseason.
On defense, the secondary has been surprisingly bad, even after Patrick Peterson’s return from suspension. They rank 27th in pass defense efficiency, with a defensive front that ranks 14th in adjusted sack rate. Look for them to boost the pass rush to make life easier on the back end.
The 2019 NFL season is coming to a close and while the playoffs are just arriving, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. We won’t know the full regular season schedule until April, but even with the 2019 season not finished, we know each team’s list of opponents. The NFL has a formula they use to determine opponents, with divisions and conferences rotating each year.
The Cardinals face their divisional opponents a total of six times. The NFC West faces the NFC East, which adds four more opponents. The NFC West faces the AFC East, which adds four more opponents. The final two opponents are the teams that finish in the same standing position in the NFC North and NFC South.