Arizona Cardinals game predictions

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
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ESPN.com Arizona Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: San Diego Chargers

A late Monday night game is set up to benefit the home team. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will be the first quarterback to try to exploit Arizona's weakness at inside linebacker. After months of preparing, the Cardinals' defense will outmatch the Chargers' offense in their debut. Prediction: Win


Week 2: at New York Giants

Eli Manning could be the right recipe for the Cardinals to get their pass rush steadied, but coming off a short week and a cross-country road trip will be a challenge to the veterans, especially under the bright lights of New York City. Prediction: Loss


Week 3: San Francisco 49ers

Arizona will have a full week to prepare for the 49ers, and last season's Week 17 loss won't be far from the Cardinals' memories. The Niners will also be the Cards' first opportunity to face a top-tier tight end, for whom they drafted safety Deone Bucannon. Expect a lot of nickel and dime packages so the rookie can get his first taste of Vernon Davis. Prediction: Win


Week 5: at Denver Broncos

If there's one quarterback who can find Arizona's weaknesses on defense (inside linebacker and the pass rush) and exploit them, it's Denver's Peyton Manning. If there are two coaches who know Manning better than any duo in the league, it's Arizona's Bruce Arians and Tom Moore. It'll be a chess match. Prediction: Loss


Week 6: Washington Redskins

By Week 6, the Cardinals -- and the rest of the NFL -- will know which Redskins offense is showing up every week. Robert Griffin III will either keep wearing on a tired defense that would've faced four top-flight quarterbacks by then or he'll be a sight for sore eyes. Prediction: Win


Week 7: at Oakland Raiders

Carson Palmer gets his first crack at the Raiders on the field he despises. If he's not pumped for this game, Palmer won't be pumped for any this season. After five straight weeks of facing talented quarterbacks, the Cardinals' defense will finally get a reprieve. Prediction: Win


Week 8: Philadelphia Eagles

The Cardinals got down early last season in Philadelphia and nearly came back in the fourth quarter. If that happens this season, the Eagles might bury Arizona. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will be returning to the state in which he played his college football, and the Eagles might be running like a well-oiled machine in Year 2 under Chip Kelly by this point. Prediction: Loss


Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys

Like the Redskins, which Cowboys team shows up will decide who wins. But on the road at Dallas, in a stadium the team has never played in, the Cardinals will have to overcome more than football. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will be in for a long day regardless, with either Patrick Peterson or Antonio Cromartie awaiting him on either side. Prediction: Loss


Week 10: St. Louis Rams

The Cardinals' offensive line will have nine weeks to jell before facing the Rams' fearsome defensive line for the first time. Lining up Andre Ellington out wide should neutralize the pass rush, while Arizona's pass rush should impact a Sam Bradford-less offense. Prediction: Win


Week 11: Detroit Lions

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson won't be able to take advantage of Peterson's size anymore with Cromartie now an option to guard him. With Johnson partially neutralized, the Lions' passing game won't be as effective. For the second straight week, however, the offensive line will have its hands full. Prediction: Win


Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks

The last time Arizona played at Seattle, the Cardinals broke the Seahawks' home winning streak. The weather could start turning by late November, and it will be Arizona's first outdoor game since mid-October. Prediction: Loss


Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons

Back indoors, the Cardinals' secondary will have its hands full with another stout quarterback-receivers tandem. But the second straight road trip, and a cross-country flight, doesn't bode well for another conference win. Prediction: Loss


Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs will provide a good tuneup for the Cardinals heading into a brutal final stretch of games, the main difference coming at quarterback: Defending Alex Smith is more like preparing for Palmer than Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson. Kansas City will throw a tough defense and one of the top running backs at Arizona. Prediction: Win


Week 15: at St. Louis Rams

Another short week doesn't bode well for the Cardinals' veterans, but, with the second round of the NFC West beginning, the Cardinals will know what to expect. Arizona has lost all four of its Thursday night games, but this could be the one that ends that streak. Prediction: Win


Week 16: Seattle Seahawks

By this point the Super Bowl hangover will have set in, and the Cardinals will know how dire these last three games are. No matter how far removed from the playoffs they are, the Cardinals will play to win. Prediction: Win


Week 17: at San Francisco 49ers

The season finale could be the difference between making the playoffs or not for the Cardinals, but the same could be said for the Niners. Kaepernick, Davis and Frank Gore might be too much for a weary defense. Prediction: Loss


Predicted Record: 9-7 

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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