Week 1 couldn't have gone much worse. A loss to the Lions plus a serious injury to star running back David Johnson have some Arizona Cardinals fans believing the season is over before it really began.
The good news: The Cardinals face a team in a similar situation Sunday in the Indianapolis Colts, who are without starting quarterback Andrew Luck and lost by 37 points to the Rams last Sunday.
Can the Cardinals pull to 1-1 on the season in Indianapolis on Sunday? Here are some predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy
Week 2 for the Arizona Cardinals is now tougher than we first thought. A potential season-ending injury to David Johnson set this team on its heels, and that was just the beginning of the injury woes for Arizona.
Add in left tackle D.J. Humphries, left guard Mike Iupati, tight end Jermaine Gresham and receiver John Brown and you have a recipe for disaster. Even tight end Troy Niklas is questionable for Sunday. And don’t forget a less-than-inspiring performance by quarterback Carson Palmer. Although this is just the third time since 2002 the Cards have started a season with back-to-back road games, this is going to be more difficult than anticipated.
The good news: The Colts are a train-wreck and Las Vegas still has Arizona as 7-point favorites.
Cardinals 21, Colts 12
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
I’ll start off by saying I truly fear for Carson Palmer’s blindside in this one. With D.J. Humphries out with a knee sprain, John Wetzel will step in at left tackle and he did not look good last Sunday against the Lions. As for left guard, Mike Iupati will sit this week out nursing a tricep injury, so the Cardinals will likely lean on the veteran Alex Boone. His U-Haul pulled into the Valley about a week ago. He might not even know everyone’s name in the huddle yet.
With a Week 2 injury report that looks a lot like something we’d see in Week 11 or 12, all I can say is… it’s a good thing they’re playing the Colts this week! Both teams are struggling, but even with the early injuries, the Cardinals have the more talented roster. The Cards' secondary will stifle an already stagnant Indianapolis air attack (thanks to the absence of Andrew Luck) and the Cards' defensive front should render the Colts’ ground game ineffective.
The Cardinals should win this game handily. If they don’t? The Birdgang will hit the panic button -- and I’ll be right there with them.
Cardinals 21, Colts 10
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
The logic goes like this: If a mediocre Los Angeles Rams team can score 46 points against the Colts, the David Johnson-less Cardinals should be able to muster at least half that total and limit third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett enough to pull to .500 Sunday.
Here's the thing: The Colts will be at home and will go against an Arizona team that won't just be without Johnson, but will be missing two of its starters on the offensive line, it's second-best wide receiver (John Brown) and possibly two of its top defensive playmakers (safety Deone Bucannon and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche).
The bottom line is that, despite his struggles, Carson Palmer is still a much, much better quarterback than Brissett, who will likely be running from Chandler Jones and Markus Golden all day. I expect the Cardinals to pull out a win in what could be the ugliest game of the season, but it's hardly a sure thing.