The Arizona Cardinals face a tall task this week when they square off against one of the NFC’s best teams in the Minnesota Vikings.
The Arizona Cardinals enjoyed a 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints last Thursday and subsequently had a mini-bye week. Now, they are back in business and looking to face one of the league’s most talented teams.
Luckily for the Cardinals, the Vikings aren’t as all-world as their record indicates. Here are three reasons Arizona can upset Minnesota this weekend.
1 – The Arizona Cardinals nearly pulled off another upset
In Week 5, the Cardinals came within one missed kick that would have forced overtime against the mighty Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, Matt Ammendola missed the game-tying kick, and the Cardinals lost the encounter 20-17.
But they were also without receiver DeAndre Hopkins in that matchup. Now that the Cardinals have Hopkins back in the lineup, look for them to give Minnesota an even tougher competition. And if they can get a little healthier heading into this one, Arizona might pull off the upset this time around.
2 – The Vikings have a middle-of-the-road offense
Right now, the Vikings rank 27th in total offense. But as one of the teams on a bye this week, those numbers are skewed. Instead, we need to check out where the Vikings rank in yards per play, and that number sits at 5.4 per, currently tied for 15th in the NFL.
While the Cardinals defense allowed 34 points last week, 10 of those points occurred in garbage time over the final 3:07 of the contest. As it stands, the Cardinals defense has a good chance of stifling the Vikings offense.
3 – The Vikings have given up 6.0 yards per play
This time last week, I’d have said that there would be no difference of whether the Arizona Cardinals faced a great defense or a horrific one, judging from their three offensive points scored against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6.
The Vikings are one of six teams in the league to have allowed 6.0 yards per play or more, and they are currently tied for 30th overall in the category with four teams. With Hopkins in the fold, the Cardinals offense can take full advantage of the poor Vikings defense. And in case you were wondering, the Saints are 17th in the category with 5.6 yards per play.
Overall, the Cardinals wouldn’t be winning this football game without Hopkins in the lineup. But since he clearly hit the ground running with 10 receptions and 103 yards in his first game back, Arizona has a legit chance here. With Hopkins, the Cardinals can easily take advantage of the Vikings defense and this time, upset one of the league’s best teams.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)