The Arizona Cardinals will return home to face the top team in the NFL – the Philadelphia Eagles. Here are three big predictions for the contest.
Over the past week, I argued the Arizona Cardinals must adopt a running back committee given the better overall efficacy of current RB1 James Conner when he doesn’t need to carry 80-plus percent of the workload. The Cardinals went with a committee on Sunday, and it helped them dominate the Carolina Panthers in a convincing 26-16 win.
This week, the Cardinals have their hands full against a Philadelphia Eagles opponent that, despite a solid rushing defense, is giving up 5.0 yards per carry on the ground. The Eagles also have a few other weaknesses that if the Cardinals exploit, they will put up some big numbers this Sunday and perhaps knock off the arguably the NFL’s most talented team. That said, let’s get to the predictions.
1 – Arizona Cardinals running backs total 150 yards
The backs-by-committee strategy worked in Week 4. And while I have my reservations regarding head coach Kliff Kingsbury following through on something that contradicts his college-style “Air Raid” approach, he eventually needs to go with what works.
Last week, the Cardinals showed that running the ball effectively definitely helps their cause, and it’s something you will see this week. In Week 4, the combination of Conner, Darrel Williams, and Eno Benjamin combined for 110 yards. This week, let’s go bold and bring that number to 150.
2 – Cardinals sack Jalen Hurts four times
Hurts may be coming into his own at quarterback, but he’s 11th in the league in times sacked, with nine. Further, his 6.8% sack percentage also ranks 11th-highest in the league, giving the Arizona Cardinals defense an opportunity to take him down this week.
In Week 4, they logged a pair of sacks on Baker Mayfield, and with players like J.J. Watt and Zach Allen applying sound pressure, the Cardinals can easily get to Hurts at least twice on Sunday. But let’s up the ante and say they explode for a four-sack outing against one of the league’s fastest-rising stars.
3 – Cardinals hold the Eagles to under 20 points
In my predictions post, I said the Arizona Cardinals would win this one 24-21. But I want to get even bolder here and state the Cardinals win this one 24-19, with the Eagles failing a late two-point conversion to bring the game to three points.
While this may seem like an all-out farfetched prediction, the Cardinals defense has allowed just 15.6 points per game over the past 10 quarters and 18.6 per game since giving up 44 points in Week 1. And one of those offenses they held to 20 happened to belong to the stagnant yet still talented Los Angeles Rams.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com and Pro-Football-Reference)