PREDICTIONS: Can the Arizona Cardinals come closer to a playoff spot in Week 15?

Bills Cardinals Football
Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 15:57:19-05

GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles are both coming off big wins and meet in the desert with playoff aspirations.

The Cardinals are led by second-year quarterback Kyler Murray and a defense that played very well in last week's 26-7 win over the New York Giants.

Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts will get his second career start for the Eagles. Murray and Hurts were both star quarterbacks in college at Oklahoma before jumping to the NFL.

So who will get the win in Week 15? Here are predictions from the ABC15 sports team.

Sports Director Craig Fouhy

The Cardinals snapped a 3-game losing streak with a win on the road over then, NFC East-leading New York. The win can be attributed to an outstanding defensive effort, namely, Haason Reddick’s 5 sacks, fewer penalties and an offense that produced 26-points.

This week, the Cards host the 4-win Philadelphia Eagles, who are coming off a 24-21 win over the Saints. The Eagles benched Carson Wentz in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts and Hurts delivered.

The reality is, Arizona is now a 6.5-point favorite and the Eagles just aren’t that good. They rank 26th in total yards per game, 28th in passing yards per game, and 27th in points per game. But more importantly, Philadelphia is minus-10 in turnover margin, a metric that doesn’t equate to a lot of wins.

The questions this week are:

Can the Cards' defense continue to play with the kind of emotion and passion they did last week?
Can D.C. Vance Joseph create a game plan that’ll keep Jalen Hurts confused and questioning what he’s seeing?
Can Arizona keep the penalties and mental mistakes to a minimum and stay ahead of schedule on offense?
Can Kyler Murray get out in space and put pressure on corners and Slot-corners?

My guess is, with the playoffs on the line, the Cardinals will play like their backs are against the wall, at least when it comes to crunch time. The keys to victory are pretty simple and I outlined those above. Do those things and you get win #8 and close in on a playoff spot.

Prediction: Cardinals 29, Eagles 22

Sports Reporter Collin Harmon

While the Red Sea may not enjoy the roller coaster of emotions that this Cardinals team makes them feel, the Cards are at their best when their backs are against the wall. That's been true for most games this season, few of which Arizona has led at halftime. So, it's only fitting that their playoff hopes hinge on likely needing to win at least two of the final three games. And with the LA Rams on the schedule in the final week, wins are all but required this Sunday and next to get into the postseason.

The Eagles have been a hot mess all season, but the change to Jalen Hurts at quarterback is an interesting wrinkle. That may have caught the Saints off-guard last week, but I like Vance Joseph's ability to make adjustments, coupled with the defense riding high after that 8-sack performance at the Meadowlands.

Offensively, the Cardinals still need to figure things out. Sure, they were far better last week than they've been the past month, but they didn't take advantage of a host of opportunities their defense gave them. This week it starts with a really good effort from the offensive line to keep Kyler Murray upright, because Jim Schwartz-led defenses love getting after the quarterback, and this front excels at it. The Eagles rank second in the league with 43 sacks.

But the Eagles still play in the NFC East and that division is a dumpster fire with no good football teams. The Cardinals will have to work for it, but they'll get the job done at home and keep a playoff spot in their control.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Eagles 20