Remember when Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals were the talk of the NFL and atop the NFC standings? That seems like so long ago.
After a 7-0 start to the year, the Cardinals have stumbled and gone 3-5 since — including three straight losses. They have gone from the top of the NFC West to a Wild Card spot and are falling faster than ever.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury needs to find a way to remedy this, although his shocking track record might point at more bad news for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have stumbled ever since the 7-0 start and look like a lost football team
The Cardinals were the hottest team in football just a couple of months ago. Murray was playing at an MVP level, James Conner was scoring touchdowns seemingly every week, and the defense was doing its part as they kept beating everybody they faced.
Since then, they have been a trainwreck. The Cardinals’ three victories since that 7-0 start have come against the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Chicago Bears — who were led by Andy Dalton.
This isn’t exactly a new trend, either. In 2020, the Cardinals jumped out to an impressive 7-3 start before tripping and dropping five of the last seven games, including that Wild Card loss against the Los Angeles Rams.
So, what is the problem in Arizona? Sure, Murray has dealt with injuries, J.J. Watt got knocked out for the year, and DeAndre Hopkins also suffered a season-ending injury. Still, it’s a concerning pattern, and Kingsbury’s track record might explain why.
Kliff Kingsbury has endured these struggles since he was at Texas Tech
What else can you say?
Even when Kingsbury was the head coach at Texas Tech, he suffered these same issues. So, perhaps that’s why.
For some odd reason, this trend has continued to the NFL. Just weeks ago, the Cardinals were explosive, dangerous, and looked like the best team in the NFL.
In Week 15, they reached a new low by losing to the Detroit Lions, 30-12. Yes, those Detroit Lions. This can’t bode well for Kingsbury’s future if his teams keep stumbling in the second half of the season.
Maybe this all boils down to a coaching problem. After all, it has been a shocking pattern for Kingsbury both at Texas Tech and now with the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are locked into the playoffs but need to get back to their old ways
The Cardinals have a playoff spot wrapped up, sitting at 10-5 going into Week 17. They are only a game back of the Rams for the NFC West lead, so there’s still a glimmer of hope there.
However, they face the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 and then finish off the regular season with the Seattle Seahawks, so winning at least one of those would help put this team in the right direction.
Things aren’t looking promising in Arizona, and Kingsbury’s past might signal that he is part — or most — of the problem.
The next few weeks will be interesting to see whether or not the Cardinals can right the ship and win a playoff game.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference