The Arizona Cardinals face their first AFC opponent this week in the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that has struggled throughout the first month of the season. Regardless of how badly the Bengals have played so far in 2023, they’re a team you can’t write off thanks to their starpower on both sides of the football.
But if they keep struggling, then the Redbirds have a chance to win this game handedly. Below, I’ve outlined three reasons why the Cards will walk away from State Farm Stadium with the W. But I’m also sharing two reasons why that won’t be the case and that the Bengals will be flying back to Ohio after handing Arizona the L.
3 reasons Arizona Cardinals could win this Sunday, but 2 reasons why they won’t
Why they will win
1 - Cardinals running game is light years ahead of Bengals rushing defense
I projected running back James Conner to enjoy a huge game on the ground this week in my bold predictions piece. One reason is thanks to the fact Conner has been one of the league’s best backs all season, ranking fourth among 51 qualified running backs with a PFF Grade of 82.2.
With the Bengals allowing 628 rushing yards, they’re the second-worst in the category for all teams who have played in four games. The Cardinals have a perfect recipe for success unless the Bengals somehow figure out how to stop the run sometime in the next day-and-a-half.
2 - Cardinals have more than just home field advantage
Despite their ultimate ill-fated run at State Farm Stadium between 2021 and 2022, the Arizona Cardinals have turned things around across their first two games in the new era. In the week following a loss to the New York Giants in which they allowed Big Blue to rally from a 21-point deficit, the Cards beat the Dallas Cowboys.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that, for now, the Cards have an advantage when they play at State Farm Stadium. But the Bengals, like the Giants, must adjust their respective body clocks quickly, and that too could play into the Cardinals hands.