The Arizona Cardinals will look to rebound this week when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Week 13 matchup where they will look to move on from last week’s blowout loss. But, Pittsburgh isn’t a great team this season despite their 7-4 record, so the Cardinals can lure this unit into a trap and collect their first road win of the season.
Arizona is also at that “nothing to lose” stage of the 2023 season, so expect some fun play when they wear the Steelers down. And yep, that’s a when, and not an if, since this is a bold predictions piece after all.
3 bold predictions for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13
1 - The running game comes to life
No more Kliff Kingsbury-like “Air Raid” offenses this week that did not work when tried this past Sunday. Instead, the Arizona Cardinals will focus on the run, playing a more conservative offense early before they get aggressive later.
This will give James Conner, Emari Demercado, and Michael Carter a chance to snag a collective 100 rushing yards in the contest. Currently, the Steelers defense gives up an average of 118.4 rushing yards per game, and 4.3 yards per carry, both of which are mediocre numbers at best when compared to the rest of the league.
2 - Jalen Thompson extends his interceptions streak
Jalen Thompson currently has three picks on the year, including two in back-to-back games. Now, he gets to face one of the league’s most pedestrian passers who looks more like a future NFL journeyman than he does a franchise quarterback in Kenny Pickett.
While Pickett doesn’t turn the ball over often (four interceptions this year and 13 in 23 career games), Thompson has been enough of a ballhawk in 2023 to have enough confidence to jump a pass and record a career-high fourth interception of the season. Look for him to be all over the field this Sunday, making life difficult for Pickett and Company.
Update: As of Wednesday afternoon, Jalen Thompson was listed on the Cardinals injury report.
3 - Kyler Murray rebounds
Blame any catalyst that you want, but the truth is that Kyler Murray had one of the worst outings of his career before the Los Angeles Rams backed off and let him and the Arizona Cardinals offense score. This week will be different, and one reason, ironically, is because Murray will know he’ll need to get rid of the ball quickly with T.J. Watt coming.
As mentioned in the first prediction, expect the running game to open the pass, and look for Murray to just drop back or roll out away from Watt and throw. This isn’t to say Murray will play his best game, but he will rebound enough to maintain hope he can still be the guy in the desert.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)