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Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals are more than a dark-horse playoff threat with upcoming schedule

Entering the 2020 season, the Arizona Cardinals were projected by many to be at the bottom of the NFC West. That is not the case to begin the season. After two weeks, the Cardinals have a 61.7% chance to make the postseason, according to Football Outsiders.

Arizona set the tone for their season immediately. In Week 1, they picked up an upset victory over the San Francisco 49ers. They did not let down in Week 2 after taking down the reigning NFC champions. Kyler Murray ran all over a good defense in Washington on their way to a 30-15 victory.

The Cardinals are one of three teams in the NFC West to begin their season with two straight wins. The Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams are also unbeaten. The 49ers are 1-1 and they are completely banged up after a game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets. The Cardinals have put themselves in a great position moving forward, especially when looking at their upcoming schedule.

Cardinals upcoming schedule

When looking at the upcoming schedule for the Cardinals, there is a legitimate chance that they start 5-0. It begins with a Week 3 matchup against the Detroit Lions. They will then go on the road to take on the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets. If Arizona can take down three of the worst teams in football, their playoff chances will skyrocket.

There is no reason why the Cardinals should lose any of these three games. Murray is playing at a high-level and is turning into a dominant duel-threat. DeAndre Hopkins is on a record-setting pace in terms of receptions over his first two games with the Cardinals. The Cardinals took a big chance when they hired Kliff Kingsbury and allowed him to take another quarterback in the first round. So far, it is paying off.

The schedule gets difficult for the Cardinals following this soft stretch. Of course, they will have their division games left against the Rams, Seahawks, and one with the Niners. Out of division, the Cardinals have to play the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles. the NFC East has not been impressive to begin the year so those are winnable games.

Finally, Arizona has two more games on their schedule that they have to win. Those games are against the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. Think of it this way, if Arizona begins the season 5-0, they would have to completely implode to miss the postseason. Defeating the Dolphins and Giants would give them seven wins. This means that 2-7 in their other nine games likely gets them in the playoffs.

Let’s remember, the NFL added an extra playoff team. There will not be seven playoff teams, the four division winners and three wildcard teams. Early on, it is looking like the NFC East is only going to get one team in. The NFC North is a question mark and the NFC South is top-heavy. The NFC West has been the best division in football and it is not close.

The NFC West has three teams with at least a 60% chance to make the post season and the Cardinals are one of those teams. Their Week 1 victory over the Niners was extremely important and that could allow them to begin 5-0 if all goes right.