Last week: 16 (+1)
I was going to call the Cardinals the worst 4-0 team ever, but then I remembered the 2009 Broncos. The Broncos, much like the Cardinals this year, were one of my preseason picks to be among the worst in the league. After the Broncos started 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 etc, I started calling them the worst 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, etc team ever because of how they were winning. I got some negative comments and hate mail for that. The Broncos started 6-0 that year and ended the season 8-8. The Cardinals could see something similar happen.
So many things point to this being a fluke. One, Larry Fitzgerald is their only good offensive player. If numbers are more your thing, this team ranks tied for 27th in the league in yards per play differential. They’ve won 3 games by 3 or fewer points, giving them only a +30 points differential. Contrary to popular belief, winning close games does even out over time.
This team is 10-1 in their last 11 games decided by a touchdown or fewer. Before that, they were 2-8 in their last 10, with essentially the same group of guys. Teams that win more than 67% of their close games win about 50% of those types of games the following season and the same is true midseason. Teams that win a game by 7 points or less are 586-541 (52.0%) since 1989 in their following game if that game is also decided by a touchdown or less.
The only exception, historically, has proven to be an elite quarterback, but the Cardinals don’t have that. Eventually, this team will even out at around .500. They’re a very similar team to the Seahawks and could easily lose in St. Louis on a short week this week. I’ve started riding the correction with this team last week and nailed one of my co-picks of the week (actually I nailed all 3) and I’m going to continue that going forward.
WR Andre Roberts: Caught 6 passes for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9 attempts on 57 pass snaps, 4.8 YAC per catch
SS Adrian Wilson: Allowed 1 catch for 19 yards on 4 attempts, 1 pass deflection, 8 solo tackles, 3 stops, 1 sack and 1 quarterback hit on 6 blitzes
MLB Paris Lenon: 6 solo tackles, 2 assists, 4 stops, 1 quarterback hit and 4 quarterback hurries on 20 blitzes, was not thrown on
ROLB Sam Acho: 1 sack, 1 quarterback hit, and 2 quarterback hurries on 34 pass rush snaps, 3 solo tackles, 4 stops
P Dave Zastudil: 9 punts for 435 yards, 4 inside 20, 2 returns for 9 yards, 47.3 net yards per punt
LT D’Anthony Baptiste: Allowed 2 sacks and 4 quarterback hurries on 57 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty, run blocked for 0 yards on 1 attempt
RT Bobby Massie: Allowed 5 sacks, 1 quarterback hit, and 6 quarterback hurries on 57 pass rush snaps, 1 penalty
RB Ryan Williams: Rushed for 26 yards (26 after contact) on 13 carries, 3 broken tackles, allowed 1 quarterback hurry on 10 pass block snaps, caught 1 pass for 0 yards on 2 targets, 1 drop
WR Early Doucet: Caught 4 passes for 31 yards on 7 attempts on 40 pass snaps, 1.5 YAC per catch, 1 drop
CB William Gay: Allowed 5 catches for 129 yards on 7 attempts, 2 solo tackle, 1 stop, 2 missed tackles
LE Nick Eason: Did not record a pressure on 15 pass rush snaps, 1 assist