The weekend is almost here, which means it is time for some Arizona Cardinals Week 8 bold predictions. They will be on the road to face the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
After a rough two-game losing streak, the Cardinals got back on track with a 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints. However, Arizona still finds itself at the bottom of the NFC West with a 3-4 record.
On the other hand, the Vikings seem to be on pace for a playoff bid. The team is 5-1 and on a four-game winning streak. But coming off its bye week, it will be interesting to see if Minnesota will pick up where it left off.
With the teams in very different places this season, the game might sound one-sided. Still, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. With that being said, here are three bold predictions for the Cardinals as they face the Vikings in Week 8.
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3. DeAndre Hopkins scores his first touchdown, goes over 100 yards receiving
After missing the first six games of the season due to a suspension, DeAndre Hopkins showed he is essential to the Cardinals.
In his first game of the season last week, the wide receiver caught 10 out of 14 targets for a team-high 103 yards. Arizona as a team had 204 receiving yards. Not only did Hopkins show his impact, but it revealed how much the Cardinals missed him earlier this year.
Arizona is in the bottom half of the league with just seven passing touchdowns this season. In just 10 games in 2021, Hopkins had 42 receptions for 572 yards and eight touchdowns, three more than any other player on the roster. His touchdowns represented almost 30% of the team’s scores through the air.
The bold prediction is that Hopkins will have back-to-back games with at least 100 receiving yards. This time, he will score for the first time in 2022 and ignite the Cardinals’ passing offense for the rest of the year.
2. Kyler Murray produces 300+ all-purpose yards
For Hopkins to have a good game, it will depend on how well his quarterback plays. For the season, Kyler Murray has completed 65.5% of his pass attempts for 1,667 yards and seven touchdowns against four picks. Although those numbers might not impress too much, Murray is compensating on the ground.
The quarterback has 45 carries for a total of 263 rushing yards and two scores, including a 100-yard performance against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6. But perhaps Sunday’s matchup could be when Murray breaks out as a passer this season.
The Vikings allow opponents to complete 68.6% of their passes, fifth-worst team in the NFL. Minnesota’s 7.9 passing yards allowed per attempt ranks dead last. When facing the Vikings, opponents get a first down through the air in 37.7% of the passes, ranking 29th in that category.
Needless to say, Minnesota does not have the stoutest pass defense. Combining that reality with Murray’s dual-threat abilities, expect him to eclipse 300 all-purpose yards on Sunday, the fourth time he’s so this season.
1. Arizona will keep it a one-score game
Despite what records show, the Cardinals and Vikings have a lot of things in common. One of them is how close their games have been this season.
Four of Arizona’s contests were decided by one possession. That includes the team’s overtime win over the Las Vegas Raiders and two of their losses.
In Minnesota’s active four-game winning streak, all matchups were decided by eight or fewer points. It shows how effective the Vikings are in close-game situations, especially when a win is on the line.
According to FanDuel, the Vikings are the favorites to win the game. However, the spread is just -3.5. This means that things should be close for most of the contest, with no team opening a comfortable lead. Every possession will count and turnovers could be the deciding factor at the end of the day.
Despite being the underdogs, the Cardinals could steal the game in Minneapolis. It will depend on how Murray and Hopkins perform, as well as how they will defend two-time Pro Bowler Justin Jefferson. The wideout already has four games with at least 100 receiving yards, including three straight.
All things considered, this should be a one-score game. In the end, it will either come down to the kicking game or if a team can make a big stop. Either way, both the Cardinals and Vikings will look back at Week 8 and think about how much this game mattered in the bigger picture.