Arizona Cardinals 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – The Arizona Cardinals proved that their unlikely run to the Super Bowl two years ago wasn’t a fluke. Last year, they finished with a 10-6 record and once again won the NFC West. Though they couldn’t go on the road and win a playoff game again, no one is upset with a first round victory over the Green Bay Packers. The offseason was a tumultuous one though, as the team made a number of moves and gutted the team.

Key Loss – SS Antrel Rolle – Yes, losing QB Kurt Warner hurts, and yes, losing WR Anquan Boldin stings a bit as well, but at least we know that Matt Leinart and Steve Breaston are stepping into those roles respectively. Is there a replacement out there for Rolle? Half of Arizona’s starting secondary from last year was traded at some point during the offseason, which is horrifying news for a team that ranked 20th in the NFL in total defense and 23rd in pass defense.

Arizona Cardinals NFL Cheerleader

Key Addition – LB Joey Porter – HC Ken Whisenhunt renews his ties with an old friend from the Pittsburgh Steelers days by bringing Porter in via free agency. There’s still clearly something left in the tank for the 33 year old, as he racked up 32 sacks in three seasons playing for Miami. There has definitely been some decline, but the prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker will look great in Arizona red. Perhaps his pressure off the end can help mask some of the pains that the secondary will inevitably endure again this year.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Someone can replace Warner effectively. Notice we said “someone” and not “Leinart.” Backup QB Derek Anderson was brought in from Cleveland to be a security blanket in case something happens to Leinart or he proves to be ineffective. Expect fifth round draft choice John Skelton to have his chances, particularly in the preseason as well. Leinart is too old now to be called a franchise quarterback, and he will have a short leash this year from Whisenhunt, who would probably rather have a different signal caller.

The Crucial Game – The only hope that the Cards will have this year is winning the NFC West yet again, and the only way they do that is by holding serve against the 49ers. The home game on Monday Night Football on November 29th is the most important game of the entire season. There are enough winnable games on the slate at the outset of the season to make this one count for keeps. However, if the two teams are on level terms going into January 2nd’s duel in San Fran, that game will clearly take the cake.

Predictions - Though we don’t think much of this team, we know that seven games combined against the Rams, Seahawks, Bucs, Raiders, Chiefs, and Panthers should yield at least six wins or so. Are there any more than that on the slate, though? We tend to think that .500 is a possibility, but it’s hard to put Arizona in the playoffs playing a first place schedule in comparison to San Fran playing a second place one. That’s reflected in their Super Bowl futures which list the Cardinals at +6000.

2010 Arizona Cardinals Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ STL
9/19 @ ATL
9/26 vs. OAK
10/3 @ SD
10/10 vs. NO
Bye
10/24 @ SEA
10/31 vs. TB
11/7 @ MIN
11/14 vs. SEA
11/21 @ KC
11/29 vs. SF
12/5 vs. STL
12/12 vs. DEN
12/19 @ CAR
12/25 vs. DAL
1/2 @ SF

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