NFL Win Totals: Will the Arizona Cardinals Bounce Back in 2024?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
NFL Win Totals: Will the Arizona Cardinals Bounce Back in 2024?

The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2023 season with a 4-13 record, which tied for the second-worst record in the NFL. But it's also fair to say that -- in some ways -- they exceeded expectations during the year and created a foundation to build on entering 2024.

Entering 2023, the Cardinals had the NFL's lowest win total line at 4.5. The team knew entering the year that starting quarterback Kyler Murray would be sidelined for much of the season after suffering a late ACL injury in the 2022 campaign, and there was serious speculation that the Cards could hold Murray out while angling for top quarterback prospect Caleb Williams in the draft.

That left Arizona with a quarterback room of Colt McCoy and fifth-round pick Clayton Tune for much of the offseason. McCoy was cut from the team in the preseason and picked up podcasting, and Tune was disappointing enough that the Cardinals traded for and started Joshua Dobbs for the first half of the year.

The 2024 Cardinals are set up for a much better season than they were in Jonathan Gannon's first campaign as their head coach. Murray is healthy entering the year and has fourth-overall pick Marvin Harrison Jr. in line to play as his top wideout. But can they surpass the current 6.5-win line they have on FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL win totals market? Let's break it down.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Arizona Cardinals 2024 Win Total Odds

Cardinals Over/Under 6.5 Wins

  • Over: -178
  • Under: +144

Odds to Make the Playoffs: +270
Odds to Win the NFC West: +1200 (4th)
Odds to Win the NFC: +4500 (13th)
Super Bowl Odds: +8000 (T23rd-best)

Why the Cardinals Could Win Over 6.5 Games

  • Kyler Murray Is Healthy
  • Marvin Harrison Jr. Could Be a Game Changer
  • Jonathan Gannon Exceeded Year 1 Expectations

The biggest difference between the 2023 Cardinals and the 2024 Cardinals is the health of Kyler Murray. The Cardinals' starting quarterback missed the first nine games of the 2023 season while recovering from his 2022 ACL injury but is healthy entering the 2024 offseason program.

The former first overall pick had a down year when he did play last year -- but for understandable reasons. Even after he returned, top receiver Marquise Brown essentially missed five of he and Murray's potential eight games together due to injuries, leaving Murray with one of the worst receiver groups in the league. The emergence of second-year tight end Trey McBride helped -- and should continue to help the offense this year -- but it makes sense that Murray would struggle without his top wideout.

Murray also ran the ball less, averaging a career-low 5.5 rushing attempts per game. That felt like a conscious decision by him and the team after his season-ending 2023 knee injury -- he had no reason to risk re-injuring his knee for a team that was 1-8 by the time he took the field. With an extra year to recover from that knee injury, we should hopefully see more rush attempts and scrambles from the dynamic playmaker.

Between Murray being healthy and replacing Brown with fourth-overall pick Marvin Harrison Jr., there could be a major turnaround for the Cardinals' offense after they finished 24th in points per game (19.4) last year. Harrison compiled a massive stat line over his two years as a starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes, with 144 grabs for 2,474 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Despite being handed a roster with an injured quarterback and that had endured years of suboptimal management under the hands of former GM Steve Keim, Gannon was able to put together a scrappy first campaign. While the team ultimately finished 4-13, 5 of those 13 losses were by a one-score margin. They beat two playoff teams in the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles and had six of their losses come at the hands of their own tough division, a grouping that was a Seattle Seahawks tiebreaker away from sending three of its four teams to the playoffs.

The Cardinals weren't a good team, but they did create a competitive foundation to build on for 2024.

Why the Cardinals Could Win Under 6.5 Games

  • The NFC West Is Tough
  • Murray Hasn't Played a Full Season Since 2020
  • The Defense Could Still Be Bad

While things are looking up for the Cardinals in 2024, they could still have their work cut out for them in 2024. The NFC West features the reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, a solid Los Angeles Rams team that made the playoffs last year, and a Seattle Seahawks squad that could bounce back under new management after parting ways with longtime head coach Pete Carroll this offseason.

Those teams each have dangerous offenses -- the Seahawks likely have the worst of the bunch and still have Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Kenneth Walker III comprising their enviable skill position group. The Cardinals' defense will hopefully perform better in their second year under Gannon's direction, but this unit allowed the second-most points per game and the fourth-most yards per play (5.7) in the NFL last season. Even if Arizona's D shows signs of improvement, the Cards could still field a bottom-third defense.

Having a bad defense will put extra pressure on their offense, which is in a bit of a fragile state entering the year. Adding Harrison could provide a massive bump, but behind him is a murky depth chart that could be led by free agent signing Zay Jones (who missed most of last year with knee injuries), sophomore Michael Wilson coming off of a middling NFL debut, and slot wideout Greg Dortch taking over for Rondale Moore. If Harrison is slow to adjust to the NFL -- or if either he or McBride miss time -- the Cardinals could have one of the worst pass-catching groups in the league.

That fragility extends to Murray, who has not played a full season since 2020. Murray's 2021 season got off to a strong 7-0 start before a foot injury cost him three games -- he didn't look the same after returning, and the Cardinals went 2-4 when he eventually healed up. His 2022 season was cut short by his Week 14 ACL injury, but he also missed two games earlier in the season with a different injury.

A bad defense with backup quarterbacks is mainly what produced the Cardinals' four-win 2023 season. If Murray misses games in 2024, we can expect similar results again this year. While the team looks much improved on paper heading into the year, they'll need to stay healthy for as long as possible to avoid the pitfalls of their thin offensive depth chart.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.