Bird Gang Ready For Flight: Arizona Cardinals 2021 NFL Preview

Written By C.J. Pierre on September 1, 2021
Arizona Cardinals Set Roster 2021 Season Preview

Ready the Red Sea: Arizona Cardinals football is just days away from returning.

Once again, after what feels like an eternity, we are a little over a week before the new NFL season kicks off. And there is added excitement in Arizona due to the pending launch of legal sports betting in the state on Sept. 9.

With a young coach, a rising star quarterback, one of the top wide receivers in the league and arguably the top defense in the NFC West, the Cardinals could very well make a postseason run.

Yet while the Arizona Cardinals and their fans have high hopes for the team, sportsbooks don’t seem quite that optimistic.

Super Bowl betting odds for Arizona Cardinals

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, The Cardinals betting odds to win the 2022 Super Bowl are +4500. Meaning, if you bet $100 on the Cards to win it all this season, you’d make $4500. While that could be a nice payday, that also means DraftKings has the team tied for the 17th-best chance of winning the championship.

Meanwhile, the Cards put the finishing touches on their roster on Tuesday. While the NFL requires teams to trim their squads to 53 players, the Bird Gang shaved its list down to 52 active players. This leaves one open roster spot which can be filled over the course of the season.

Many of the usual suspects will suit up for home games at State Farm Stadium. However, there are many question marks and interesting storylines ahead of an important season for the franchise. We won’t go through the entire list of players, but here are some things fans and betters will want to keep their eyes on this season.

Make or break year for Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury?

Arguably the two most important people on an NFL team, quarterback and head coach, Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingbury head into year three leading the Cards. And expectations are high.

Let’s start with QB1. Kyler Murray has shown improvement from year one to year two, but fans will want to see another big jump from the former Oklahoma Sooner. That is before the franchise commits to him long-term at a high price point. And that jump could come. DraftKings has Murray tied for the 6th-best odds to win league MVP. FanDuel has him ranked 10th.

As for the coach, Kingsbury made a big splash right away after taking the job in 2019, getting rid of the team’s 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen. And let’s not forget the image of him kicking his feet up during the virtual 2020 NFL draft. But he’s got a big hill to climb.

The Cardinals head into 2021 with a strength of schedule that is among the toughest in the league. Caesars Sportsbook has set the over/under at 8 wins. In a 17-game regular season, a push would land the team under .500. And that might push the Red Sea to call for a change in leadership.

Old faces, new places for Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals fans are relying on new veteran additions to pair with the Bird Gang’s young stars. The team had to figure out its final roster without the benefit of a final preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, which was canceled because of Hurricane Ida.

Adding wideout AJ Green from the Cinnicatti Bengals will help take some attention away from DeAndre Hopkins. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end JJ Watt came over from the Houston Texans and is expected to make more room for the likes of Chandler Jones.

With the sports betting market in the Grand Canyon State set to erupt, with Arizona betting apps targeting a Sept. 9 launch, a strong season from the Cardinals in 2021 could pave the way for a bright future.

Photo by AP / Jennifer Stewart
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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