The 6-4 Arizona Cardinals will travel to Gillette Stadium in Week 12 to take on the 4-6 New England Patriots. Since both teams are coming off losses in Week 11, we are expecting this to be a highly competitive game.
The Cardinals lost to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11 on the road, while the Patriots fell to the lowly Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Arizona is in third place in the NFC West standings, while New England is in third place in the AFC East. The Patriots are in serious danger of missing the playoffs in the first season of the post-Tom Brady era.
With the Cardinals-Patriots game set to kick off shortly, let's take a look at four bold predictions for the contest from an Arizona point of view.
1. Kyler Murray throws for over 300 yards, tosses one TD, runs for another
Cardinals star quarterback Kyler Murray is dealing with an AC joint injury in his right shoulder, but he's expected to play against the Patriots. Since Arizona hasn't played in a while (their Week 11 game was on Nov. 19), Murray is going to be fresh for the New England game.
With that being said, we have Murray going off for over 300 passing yards against the Patriots. The former No. 1 overall pick will also throw one touchdown and run for another.
In 10 games this season, Murray has thrown for 2,644 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 619 yards and scored 10 touchdowns on the ground. Murray is arguably the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the NFL and he's only in his second season in the NFL. The sky is the limit for Murray as long as he stays healthy.
Week 12 will be the first time Murray faces Bill Belichick and the Patriots. It's going to be fun to see the youngster go up against arguably the best head coach in NFL history.
2. DeAndre Hopkins eclipses 100 yards, scores one touchdown
Cardinals superstar wideout DeAndre Hopkins is having a terrific first season in Arizona. The four-time Pro Bowler has 72 receptions for 912 yards and four touchdowns. It is still mind-boggling that the Texans traded Hopkins and took him away from Deshaun Watson, but Murray and Arizona's coaching staff are thrilled Houston made that foolish move.
In Week 12 against the Patriots, we have Hopkins racking up over 100 receiving yards and catching one touchdown from Murray. The 28-year-old has faced New England six times in his career. He's only 1-5 and has never reached the end zone.
With that being said, you know Hopkins is going to be hungry to record his first touchdown and win against Belichick and Co. Since future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald won't play against New England after contracting COVID-19, Murray is going to be looking Hopkins' way a lot and we expect the stud playmaker to have a huge game in Fitzgerald's absence.
3. Cardinals pick off Cam Newton twice
The Cardinals' defense has eight interceptions on the season. We expect that number to rise to 10 after Week 12.
Look for Arizona to pick off Patriots signal-caller Cam Newton twice. The former MVP has more interceptions (7) than touchdown passes (4) this season. Newton is also still without Julian Edelman, his most dependable receiver.
While Newton could cause some problems for the Cardinals in the run game since he's such an explosive runner from the quarterback position, we just can't see the former No. 1 overall pick having much success in the passing game.
Newton is 1-2 in his career versus the Cardinals. He has two touchdown passes and four interceptions.
4. Cardinals defeat Patriots, improve to 7-4
Winning at New England isn't easy, but since there are no fans at Gillette Stadium due to COVID-19, teams are having a little bit of success against the Patriots in their house in 2020.
The Patriots are 3-2 at home this season. They lost to the Denver Broncos in Week 6 and got smacked by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. We have the Cardinals defeating New England in Week 12 and improving to 7-4 on the season. Their offense is just too explosive for the Patriots to contend with and that extra rest we talked about will be beneficial for Murray.
The Los Angeles Rams and Seahawks are each 7-3 on the season. It appears the Cardinals are going to have to clinch a Wild Card spot to make the playoffs in the NFC.
With that being said, Arizona has to win games they are favored in. Without Brady, this Patriots team is no longer feared by the rest of the league. The Cardinals have to go into Foxborough in Week 12 and take care of business against a below-average New England squad.