James Conner will be the top player to watch against Bengals in Week 5

The Arizona Cardinals are facing one of the NFL’s worst rushing defenses in Week 5, meaning James Conner should get plenty of touches.
Oct 1, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) stands on
Oct 1, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) stands on / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Arizona Cardinals Week 4 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, running back James Conner was involved in a shoving match with Talanoa Hufanga. But, it doesn’t look like anything is coming out of it, so you can expect Conner to take the field this week as the Cards return to State Farm Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals. 

While Conner ran for just 52 yards on 11 attempts (4.72 yards per carry) in Week 4, he should see plenty of action in Week 5, as the Bengals currently have the second-worst rushing defense next to Vance Joseph’s unit in Denver. So far, Cincinnati has allowed 628 rushing yards, equaling 157 yards per game, and 5.1 yards per carry on 123 attempts. 

Conner, meanwhile, has 318 yards on 62 carries, and he’s averaging 5.1 per, meaning he should have a huge day vs. a team that’s struggling to gain traction and collectively performing well below expectations. This isn’t to claim that Conner’s hard running will be the deciding factor, but it should help open the passing game for Joshua Dobbs and Company. 

Arizona Cardinals must hand James Conner the ball often in Week 5

So far, Conner has been a pivotal part of the game plan, and that trend should continue this week. It shouldn’t surprise you if the 28-year-old eclipses 20 carries in Week 5 to wear down and draw the Bengals defense closer to the line of scrimmage, and hopefully, he won’t be the only one in the backfield getting touches.

Wide receiver Rondale Moore has also shown the Red Sea he can make things happen from the backfield. Sure, he has a long of 45 yards, which occurred a couple of weeks ago vs. the Dallas Cowboys, but he still has 21 yards on his other four rushing attempts. 

If Keaontay Ingram can return from injury this week and get some better blocking when he’s got the ball, then the Arizona Cardinals should have a sound rushing attack for this one. But overall, look for Conner to get most of the touches. 


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)