After a narrow loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Arizona Cardinals will look to get back to their winning ways in Week 15 against the Detroit Lions.
The Cardinals had a golden opportunity to move a step closer to an NFC West title with a victory over the Rams in Week 14. Still, the Cardinals wound up having no answer for the Matthew Stafford-led offense, as the veteran quarterback guided the Rams to six scoring drives. While the Cardinals made it interesting late when they recovered an onside kick, they failed to notch a single first down over the drive as they came up short in the end by a 30-23 final score.
On the other side, the Lions failed to build on momentum from their upset home win over the Minnesota Vikings, as they came away with a road loss to the Denver Broncos last week. Much of what has marred their campaign wound up being a theme for them over the course of the game, from their woes on third downs to their inability to finish crucial red zone drives with touchdowns.
In what has turned out to be an unpredictable season in the NFL, there could always be a chance that the Lions go on to pull off one of the biggest upsets in years with a home win over the No. 3 seed in the NFC. The Cardinals must achieve each of these four feats in Week 15 to prevent this from coming to fruition.
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Cardinals Week 15 Predictions
4. A.J. Green posts a vintage performance
The Cardinals suffered a crushing blow earlier this week when it was noted that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins may not feature in another regular season game in the campaign due to a knee injury. As a result, several other Cardinals wideouts sure will now be called upon to help replace Hopkins’ on-field production, including A.J. Green.
The veteran wideout is just coming off of a potent performance against the Rams, where he recorded seven receptions for 102 receiving yards. The Rams secondary had quite a difficult time in containing Green in the open field, as he notched a 14.5 receiving yards per reception average.
Murray should once again look to Green in critical downs this week — and the wide receiver has what it takes to post a performance that could mirror his prime days with the Cincinnati Bengals. More so, Green may be in need of a receiving touchdown, as he has not hauled in such a reception since Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns.
3. Cardinals shut down the Lions on third downs
It sure would be quite a shocker if the Lions manage to have their way on third downs against the Cardinals.
The Lions offense currently ranks last in the league in third down conversion percentage with a lowly 31.9 percent. On the other side, the Cardinals defense has been one of the more efficient units in coming away with pivotal stops thanks to its 34.6 percent third down conversion percentage allowed, which ranks at fourth in the NFL.
The Cardinals defense should cause havoc on these such downs in Week 15. Whether it may be Chandler Jones coming off of the edge to pick up a timely sack or safety Jalen Thompson securing crucial tackles, Arizona could have a field day against the Lions offense on third downs.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray could end up anchoring several more drives than usual this week if the defense can notch third down stops with ease.
2. Kyler Murray records five total touchdowns for the second time this season
Although he has missed time due to injury, Murray has recorded 24 total touchdowns on the campaign, which include five on the ground.
In Week 15, Murray should add to his touchdown total with five more such scores. The last time that he achieved this feat came in Week 1 when he tallied four touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown.
The Lions defense sure will have a monumental task to not only contain Murray in play-action passes but also his speed when he is on the run.
The Cardinals quarterback sure is in need of a standout showing after failing to record a single touchdown score last week for the second time in the season.
1. Cardinals pick up yet another double-digit win on the road
What has been most impressive about the Cardinals' stout 7-0 record on the road is that all of their wins away from State Farm Stadium have been by double-digit scores. This trend should once again continue in Week 15 against the Lions.
Overall, the Cardinals need a win over Detroit to stay in the mix for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.