Arizona Cardinals: 4 bold predictions for Week 2 vs. Vikings
The Arizona Cardinals are fresh off a dominant Week 1 win against the Tennessee Titans, winning with a final score of 38-13. They are now set to face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 and if the two teams perform similarly to Week 1 then the Cardinals should have a very fun game. Minnesota is like an off-brand version of the Titans. Both teams have a potentially explosive offense with a questionable quarterback and one of the best running backs in the NFL. Can the Cardinals start the season 2-0 with a win in Week 2 against Minnesota?
4. Chandler Jones stays hot
Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones had an eventful Week 1, going off for 5.0 sacks and pressuring the quarterback all game long. Jones was coming off a strange offseason with him apparently requesting a trade and obviously not going anywhere. The Cardinals have to be glad they stuck to keeping Jones because of this performance. No haul they could have gotten back for him would’ve met up with this huge Week 1 breakout game. With J.J. Watt on the opposite side of him, Jones could continue this all year and will in Week 2 versus Minnesota.
The Vikings will be lining up career backup tackle Rashod Hill to slow down Chandler Jones. If last week for both of these players is anywhere close to how they’ll perform this week, then Hill is going to be having nightmares all day long. This spot on the Vikings offensive line was supposed to go to first-round draft pick Christian Darrisaw, but he’s been dealing with an injury that will keep him out for the second straight game to begin his career. We’re not exactly sure what Darrisaw will bring, but Hill is a clear downgrade.
This matchup could be the one that determines the result of the game for the Cardinals. Rashod Hill will have to pull some crazy magic act to stop Jones and that just won’t happen. Don’t be at all surprised if Jones ends up with another three or four sacks against the Vikings in Week 2. If he can pull that off then this will be one of the best starts to a season in recent memory.
3. Kyler Murray rushes for 80+ yards
Murray didn’t have a great rushing day in Week 1, running just five times for 20 total yards. That isn’t at all an issue because he simply didn’t need to run. The Cardinals QB was able to carve up the Tennessee defense with his arm, but he’ll get back to rushing for a lot of yards this week against the Vikings. He will end up getting 80 or more yards for the first time this season and he’s shown he can do it. Last season, Murray racked up 80+ rushing yards just twice, but got to at least 70 yards five times.
The Vikings won’t have much in the way to stop him. Both of their top two linebackers, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, have been on the injured list throughout this week and there is very little hope behind them. It looks like Kendricks will be able to play, though it’s unclear how well, but Barr is certain to miss this matchup. Anthony Barr would typically be the best bet to stop Murray from running but that duty switches to either Kendricks or a backup linebacker now. Kendricks can do it but that leads to holes in coverage. Pick your poison.
Fortunately for Kyler Murray and his fantasy owners, the Vikings will aim to contain the Cardinals through the air and Murray will take full advantage. Maybe this is because the Vikings are locking down the Cardinals’ receivers, forcing Murray to run, but it seems more likely that Murray just sees open lanes and takes them throughout the game.
2. Patrick Peterson looks like his former self against his former team
The Vikings brought in longtime Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson this offseason and he will be back to play his former team in Week 2. Peterson and the Cardinals had an extremely awkward and sad divorce after years of Peterson being a franchise icon. It seemed like Peterson wanted to return to the team but the General Manager had other ideas and really never engaged with Peterson in talks to return to the team for this season and beyond. It’s going to be extremely interesting to watch how fans react to the return of Peterson.
Peterson has been hit with questions all week long about what this return will be like for him but he’s remained extremely professional, saying it’s just another game. Unless Peterson is literally a robot, there is no way this could just be another game for anyone. He spent 10 seasons with the Cardinals and intercepted 28 passes over that time. He was an icon for years.
If there’s one more game in the career of Peterson that will see him look like his former self, it’ll be this revenge game. He returns to Arizona to face the team that didn’t want him back with a chance to prove them wrong. Peterson will have a good game although it might not be enough to push the Vikings past the Cardinals. Just because Murray can’t pass to the guy Peterson is covering doesn’t mean he can’t just run the ball.
1. The Cardinals beat the spread and hit their points over/under
In case it hasn’t been said enough yet, the Cardinals are explosive and coming off a huge win to play the scuffling Vikings. Minnesota couldn’t beat the Bengals, and yet the odds say they will hang around. The spread for this game favors the Cardinals over the Vikings by just 3.5 games so if the Cardinals win by more than just one field goal then the spread is covered. After scoring 38 points against the Titans in Week 1, the points over/under for Arizona is set at 27.5 this week. They’re going over that.
Minnesota is in desperate need of a win with an upcoming schedule of Arizona, Seattle, and Cleveland but it won’t matter. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins should rip this injured Minnesota defense pretty badly no matter how Patrick Peterson plays, If things go absolutely perfect for Minnesota then they’ll likely win by a field goal or so but things never go right in Minnesota. Give the Cardinals a win over the spread and the over on their points.