Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals are going for their second win in row on Sunday, but can they power past the Atlanta Falcons?
ABC15 Sports Director Craig Fouhy and anchor Tim Ring are weighing in on what we could see from the Cards this weekend.
Sports Director Craig Fouhy
This is a tough one. The Cardinals are coming off a win over the Bengals (26-23), while the Falcons lost big to the Texans (53-32).
The Falcons have also lost three in a row, while the Cards are coming off their first win of the season.
It is a home game for Arizona, and the Cards are 9-2 against the Falcons at home.
All that said, the Falcons are 2.5 point favorites this weekend, and I’m still not convinced the Cardinals defense can slow down Matt Ryan. Ryan is at the top of most QB statistical categories, and, oh yes, he has Julio Jones to throw to.
Here’s the good news: The Falcons have allowed 11 passing touchdowns since Week 2, the most in the NFL.
In fact, their 13 total touchdowns allowed in the red zone are the second most allowed.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have no interceptions and 12 passing TDs allowed for the worst differential in the NFL.
Like I said, this is a tough one for me, but I’m going with the home team this week:
Prediction: Cardinals 32 -- Falcons 27
Sports Anchor Tim Ring
So here’s the question -- and I’m both excited and eager to find out the answer -- was the Cardinals win in Cincinnati the beginning of something special for a young head coach and quarterback, or was it merely a byproduct of playing an awful Cincinnati Bengals team?
Or was it both? Why can’t it be a little of both?
Either way, we’re going to get our first look at the Cardinals on Sunday since their first victory of the season -- a gutty road win that they almost gave away but didn’t. They didn’t because their rookie quarterback hoisted his team on his back in the final minutes and made a pair of plays to put his team in position to win the game, and Zane Gonzalez finished the deal.
The Cardinals needed that win, Kyler Murray needed that win, and boy did Kliff Kingsbury need that win. Now where do they go from here?
The Atlanta Falcons come limping into State Farm Stadium Sunday, their offensive line in shambles. Their losing streak stands at three. They’re beatable. They also have a quarterback who’s been to the Super Bowl, four pro-bowls and was named the NFL MVP back in 2016.
Matt Ryan is still pretty good and he throws to a wide receiver who is the highest paid wideout in the game for a reason.
Julio Jones will present all kinds of problems for the Cardinals' depleted secondary Sunday. Jones is going to make his share of plays Sunday: barring injury, this is an absolute certainty.
The Cardinals are also hurting on the offensive side of the ball.
Two of Murray’s most formidable weapons might not play. Both David Johnson and Christian Kirk are game-time decisions. If they can’t play, even more will be heaped onto Murray’s quarterback plate.
Which actually leads me to this: the Cardinals will win this game Sunday because of their quarterback.
Kyler Murray is developing to the point now where dynamic no longer intersects with disaster, and drive-killing sacks are now simply balls fluttering out of bounds.
Murray and Kingsbury have decided that the quarterback's legs are a viable weapon that should deployed at least once a quarter, and soon trips to the red zone will produce as many “7's” as it does “3's”.
The Cardinals defense will feed off a home crowd literally desperate for a win.
The Cardinals are a ghastly 1-11-1 in their last 13 games at State Farm Stadium. That’s mind-bogglingly putrid, and the home hemorrhaging stops Sunday. The Cardinals return to respectability against Atlanta at the nest.
Prediction: Cardinals 33 -- Falcons 30