We predict the Washington Commanders will decisively beat the Arizona Cardinals on the NFL’s Opening Day in 2023.
Here’s a breakdown of some key points:
New Management and Quarterback: The Commanders are under new management for the first time in 24 years, which adds an element of change and anticipation. Additionally, they have a new quarterback, Sam Howell, making only his second start as a pro. This transition alone has generated excitement and curiosity in the franchise and Washington will start Sunday’s game with added momentum as a result.
New Offensive Coordinator: The fact that the Commanders have a new offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, who won the Super Bowl last season brings intrigue and will only add to the team’s momentum as Commanders players and fans are eager to see how his coaching style and strategies impact the team’s performance.
Home Advantage: Playing at home, especially in the first game of the season, is yet another boosted element the Commanders will enjoy on Sunday. Consequently, look for Commander fans to serve as the proverbial 12th man as Washington aims to make a statement in Week 1.
If the Commanders only win one game in the 2023/24 Season, it’ll be this one.
In some ways, it’s reminiscent of Washington’s first game played at the then-brand-new Fed Ex Field (then Jack Kent Cooke Stadium) in 1997, which was also against the Cardinals.
The enthusiasm over the new stadium and the team’s determination to win their first game there was enough for Washington to pull it out in overtime, 19-13.
But, there’s more…
Last Year: Last year, the Commanders finished 8-8-1, missing the playoffs by half a game, while the Cardinals were humbled at 4-13.
Cardinals Defense: Howell couldn’t ask for a better defense to start the season off against. Arizona gave up the highest completion percentage in the league last year, allowed the second-highest QB rating, and didn’t bring in any big names during the off-season. Moreover, the Commanders do not have to worry about a pass rush from J.J. Watt who retired last year and the Cardinals won’t be starting anyone who cracked as many as 5 sacks last year. And lastly, the Cardinals weren’t proficient in stopping the run last year.
Commanders Defense: Last year, the Commanders had the 6th-best sack percentage in the NFL and have a stacked defensive line. Moreover, they ranked 7th in rushing yards given up per game (102) and 1st in average passing yards given up (155).
Who? Untested Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs will be making his franchise debut with a seemingly average-at-best offense against a young, strong, stingy defense. Advantage Washington.
Don’t be fooled: The Commanders’ 8-8-1 record last year wasn’t reflective of the team’s strength. When former Commanders QB Carson Wentz, who had a terrible season, didn’t start the Commanders were 6-3-1. Moreover, they were the unfortunate recipients of atrocious 4th quarter calls in their 20-20 late-season draw against the Giants late in the season. Without that and a liability at QB for half the season, Washington was an 11-6 team last year.
The Commanders remind me of the Detroit Lions who also didn’t make the playoffs last year but won 8 of their last 10 games. The Lions, of course, upset the world-champion Chiefs Thursday night. Most critics think Washington will be ordinary in 2023 but we believe they’re a lock to win 10 or 11 games.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Commanders
1 PM EDT
Sunday, Sep 10, 2023
FedExField, Landover, MD
As of now and per Action Network, the Commanders are listed as –7 favorites on the spread. We like Washington to win, cover the spread, and make it a two-score difference. Not only are the Commanders a better team, but there’s too much franchise excitement for them to lay an egg against a team like Arizona.
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