Is it time for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals? Does Matthew Stafford Matter in Los Angeles? Will Russell Wilson and Seahawks take the lead again? Or will the resurgent 49s regain their ground in the West after the injury-plagued 2020 season?
Talk time is almost over and the 2021 NFL season is just around the corner. And as the start draws near, Sky Sports NFL’s writers are breaking down all eight divisions, from key players to the biggest acquisitions.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the applicants – continuing NFC West.
Main coach: Cliff Kingsbury
Key person: This team’s postseason hopes are pinned on Kyler Murray in the quarterback and whether he can make another significant leap in his game in his third year.
Murray impressed as a rookie, even if the team as a whole didn’t – Arizona posted a 5-10-1 record in 2019 – but he and the Cardinals took a step forward last season by doing well in the knockout hunt, only then do two steps back as they lost five of their last seven to fall to .500 when they finished the season 8-8.
Major additions: J.J. Watt, A.J. Green, James Conner… These are a few solid guys, both in name and height, who have arrived in Arizona this offseason, although each one comes up asking if their best days are behind them.
Three-time Defender of the Year, Watt, should be a great addition to Card’s relatively young defense. While the last of his DPOY crowns was just six years ago, the injury-prone 32-year-old has completed a full 16-game season for Texans only twice in the past five, and his 2020 total in singles tackles (36 ), sacks (5) and forced groping (2) were the minimum for a career.
Green is also a bit unknown: The 33-year-old receiver was named the last of his seven Pro Bowls four years ago, while he only totaled 523 yards and two TDs in his first season when he returned to the Bengals after ankle. The injury prevented him from performing throughout 2019. Conner, meanwhile, is now three years after his 973-yard race and 12th year with the Steelers.
Last season: The Cardinals appear to have advanced into the postseason for the first time in five years, as Murray, who has gotten some league MVP hype, put the team on a 6-3 start, with the last of these victories over Buffalo earning the most spectacularly. as Arizona’s QB threw the winning touchdown pass “Hail Murray” to De’Andre Hopkins in the final seconds.