The Arizona Cardinals have a much more manageable opponent in Week 16 than they did in Week 15, as everyone knew they would struggle against the San Francisco 49ers. This week, however, the Cards face their original cross-town rival, the Chicago Bears, and it’s always fun to see the Cards return to their birthplace to try and get the best of a team in what was its home stadium for four games in 1959.
But, if the Cardinals want to snag a win for their latest homecoming, there are a few areas of their game that they must improve. Last week, the 49ers took advantage of those weaknesses, but the Bears, ironically, don’t have the numbers backing them to repeat what the Niners did to the Cards…if the Redbirds don’t allow them to.
3 things the Arizona Cardinals must improve in Week 16
1 - Pass protection
The Chicago Bears have blitzed on 24.4 percent of their opponent’s dropbacks, which sits in the middle of the league. However, they have had a tough time getting to opposing quarterbacks, logging just 25 sacks this season, which is the third-lowest in football.
The Cardinals pass protection has been spotty this season, and they still weren’t great this past week, giving up three sacks in that Week 15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. If they can mesh better against a lesser opponent, then perhaps we will see a more dynamic Kyler Murray, who didn’t have one of his better games this past week, and the line’s performance was one catalyst behind it.
In his five games since returning from a torn ACL, opponents have sacked Murray 14 times, and the Arizona Cardinals line has given up 38 sacks through the first 15 games. This puts the former number-one pick on pace for between 22 and 23 sacks in eight starts, and the line overall on pace to give up between 46 and 47. There is no reason the line shouldn’t have a better outing in Week 16, considering the pedestrian numbers from the Bears pass rush.