The Arizona Cardinals are entering the 2023 NFL season as true underdogs, defying conventional expectations following a challenging previous season. With a record of 4-13 and seven consecutive losses in the books, the Cardinals’ journey ahead is undoubtedly a demanding one. DraftKings Sportsbook has rendered them unfavorable in each game they play, a stark reminder of their uphill climb.
As the Cardinals gear up to face the 11th most challenging schedule, their opponents’ 2022 winning percentages weigh heavily on their path. Despite this formidable journey, one can’t overlook the talent and potential that still resides within the Cardinals’ roster. The odds, though seemingly exaggerated, don’t fully account for the resilience and determination these players bring to the field.
Among the notable games where the Cardinals are considered underdogs are matchups against formidable opponents:
- Week 9 against Browns: +260
- Week 10 against Falcons: +120
- Week 11 against Texans: +120
- Week 16 against Bears: +164
The combined record of these teams from the previous season stands at a mere 20-47, reflecting a win percentage of only 29.9%. Impressively, every one of these teams finished at the bottom of their respective divisions. This juxtaposition of records prompts the question: Is this a sign of disrespect or a reflection of harsh reality?
Looking ahead, DraftKings Sportsbook presents intriguing odds for the Cardinals in the upcoming 2023 season:
- Win line: Set at 4.5, with the Texans trailing at 6.5
- Winning record: Sporting +1200 odds to achieve a winning record, surpassing the Texans at +330
- Fewest wins: +220 odds to secure the fewest regular season wins, with the Buccaneers as the second least likely at +700
- Winless: At +1600 odds for a daunting 0-17 outcome, while the Colts trail behind at +4000
- Last winless team: Favored at +400 odds to be the last team without a win, with the Texans following at +700
- NFC West struggles: Pinned with -270 odds to conclude at the bottom of the NFC West, standing as the sole team projected for a 4th-place finish
- Playoff pursuit: Intriguingly, +1100 odds to clinch a playoff spot, while the Texans trail at +475
- Coaching prospect: Jonathan Gannon stands at +3500 odds for the Coach of the Year title, tied with Titans HC Mike Vrabel—previously projected to be let go after the last season
While the Cardinals face an uphill battle, historical context adds depth to their narrative. Just two years ago, in 2021, they started strong with a 7-0 record, ultimately ending at 11-6. Similarly, the 2020 campaign saw an 8-8 record, narrowly missing the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with the Bears. With a comparable offense, excluding DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals are projected to rank last in the NFC West by a considerable margin. However, this isn’t to suggest they’ll dominate the league. Instead, it’s a testament to their potential to achieve a respectable .500 record.
In the face of these challenges, the Cardinals’ story is one of resilience and the power to transcend expectations. As they embrace their underdog status, they are poised to remind the world that sports are often about defying odds and rewriting narratives.