This Sunday, the 2-2 Arizona Cardinals will travel to the East Coast to face the 0-4 New York Jets. The Cardinals are coming off two straight brutal losses to the Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions. With a multitude of injuries for the Jets, including quarterback Sam Darnold, the spread has ballooned to 9.5 in favor of the road team.
Arizona Cardinals Preview
The Cardinals will look very different from the last time the Jets faced them four years ago. Led by stud second-year quarterback Kyler Murray and star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the Cards have an offense that will look to put up points in a hurry. On defense, they are led by safety Budda Baker and linebacker Chandler Jones. Gang Green will rely on backup left tackle Chuma Edoga to protect backup quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside as rookie Mekhi Becton was ruled doubtful to play.
The Arizona Cardinals came into the season poised to be a faster, high-powered offense. Under coach Kliff Kingsbury’s high-powered offense attack they have done just that. Kyler Murray has been efficient this season, constantly moving the ball with his arm and legs. Running back Kenyan Drake has been a slight disappointment this season as Murray leads the team in rushing yards with 265. Wide receivers Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins, and future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald round up the receiving corps. They should have no problem moving the ball against a young and undisciplined Jets defense.
The Cardinals rank 17th in total offense. The passing offense ranks 23rd behind the hands of DeAndre Hopkins. The rushing offense ranks 6th in the league behind the legs of Kyler Murray.
Arizona’s defense ranks 15th in the NFL, allowing 362 yards per game.
The unit is led by veteran safety Budda Baker, dominant edge rusher Chandler Jones, and shutdown corner Patrick Peterson.
With the receivers he will be facing, look for Peterson to shut down half the field. The secondary has allowed 237.5 passing yards per game, ranking 14th in passing defense.
Chandler Jones and the pass rush will wreak havoc a ton on a mediocre Jets offensive line. The Cardinals rank 10th in sacks. Devon Kennard, Haason Reddick, Jordan Phillips, and Corey Peters lead the team with 2 sacks each.
In run defense, the team ranks 19th, allowing 124.5 yards per game.
New York Jets
The Jets will have a new look offense this week as quarterback Sam Darnold will be missing time for the third consecutive season.
Joe Flacco will be under center. It’s fairly reasonable to say Flacco fits in the offense better. He is a pocket-passer and is not a mobile quarterback.
Running back Le’Veon Bell will come off of injured reserve and look to have a big bounce-back game. Against the Buffalo Bills in Week One, Bell rushed for 14 yards on six attempts and caught two passes for 32 yards.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder was a bright spot in the Jets offense last week as he has gone over 100 yards in the two games he was healthy in this season. The New York Jets will look to establish the run game early and ease Flacco into his first start in over a year. If they are able to move the ball on the ground, they will eventually be able to take shots down the field.
Gang Green’s defense needs to be more consistent this week. Cornerback Pierre Desir had one of the most inconsistent games from a cornerback in recent memory. He allowed two touchdowns and blew multiple coverages. However, in the second half, he made two great interceptions with one of them resulting in a defensive touchdown.
The Jets need linebacker Avery Williamson to play a great game as he will likely have the job of spying Kyler Murray. How the team should stop Murray is getting pressure through the tackles so he doesn’t become mobile. Having the pressure cave-in could cause Murray to panic.
To win on defense, the Jets will also have to slow down the rushing attack of Kyler Murray. As previously mentioned, the Arizona Cardinals’ offense ranks 6th in rushing.
For the Jets to be successful on Sunday, they have to start fast. It feels like we say this every week, but it is true. The Jets must give Joe Flacco confidence to start the game, so they will probably have a bunch of short throws to start the game. Many Jet fans have already given up on the season and have their eyes towards the offseason and rightfully so. The Jets must give their fans something to root for before the season gets away. This is a must-win game for the Jets.
Arizona Cardinals: 35
New York Jets: 13