Arizona Cardinals favored vs Bengals on Sunday Night
By Erich Becker
Coming off a statement win, the Cardinals have a few fans in the media
The Arizona Cardinals have gained a few fans (or bandwagoners, depending how you look at it) over the last few weeks, but the statement always rang true (thanks Herm Edwards), “Who have they beaten?” Who indeed. The Cardinals have not beaten a team with a winning record yet, with Seattle just being .500 prior to falling to 4-5.
But the Cardinals play the schedule they are given, and will have ample opportunity to show what they can do, and who they really are. Case in point, this week the team comes back home to University of Phoenix Stadium, in the stadium’s 100th Cardinals game. With a big win in two, and the recently defeated 8-1 Bengals coming to visit for only the third time in Cardinals history (of which they are 0-2), Big Red is a favorite in most media expert’s minds.
Let’s have a look.
Elliot Harrison at NFL.com sees the game as close, decided by four points with the Cardinals coming out on top 30-26, he writes:
"Top-flight matchup of the week: The Bengals are coming off their first loss of the season to face a Cardinals team that many think is as strong, top to bottom, as any in the league. On that point, you can make the argument that both rosters are as bloated with talent as any in the NFL."
Harrison gives examples as to why each team could win, and each could depending on ho well the defenses are able to stop the high powered offenses on the other side of the ball.
In CBSSports.com’s experts poll, straight-up winner is given to the Cardinals in 7 out of 8 slots, with one going for the Bengals. Still at CBS, Pete Prisco has the Cardinals winning by two scores:
"This is a tough turnaround for the Bengals after a bad loss against the Texans Monday night. They just didn’t look good on offense. They will have to score here because the Cardinals will get their points. And they do. Cards take it"
Over at FOX, the entire expert panel has the Cardinals taking home the win on Sunday Night to even their record with the Bengals at 8-2.
In the predictive analytic game, after a terrible week last week for both Microsoft’s Cortana and Nate Silver’s ELO model, they both hope to get back on the right track (the both incorrectly picked the Seahawks winning last week). Both models give the Cardinals a 60% chance of winning the game.
Finally, Josh Weinfuss at ESPN has the Cardinals taking the game with a touchdown:
"On paper, these teams are nearly identical. Good, big-armed quarterback. Talented receivers. Potent running game. But the Cardinals are playing at home, where they’re 16-4 under coach Bruce Arians and coming off an emotional high from beating Seattle. The Bengals are allowing the fourth-most yards per carry (4.7), which plays right into the Cardinals’ hands. Arizona has been averaging 4.37 yards per game; Chris Johnson has averaged 4.14. Cardinals 31, Bengals 24."
The Cardinals are flying high after last week, we could be talking about how their mistakes doomed them (again) but, like Cleveland three weeks ago, the overcame those issues to pull out a win. They have to stay grounded, temper their excitement about where they are in the division and the win they got. The Bengals come in on a short week, have to travel from the midwest, another prime time game, and face a dangerous team. The Cardinals take this game by a touchdown, but it will be close at times. Cardinals 34, Bengals 27.