After an embarrassing blowout defeat in Philadelphia, the 2-3 Arizona Cardinals return home Sunday to face the 2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Cardinals blew out the Bucs by a 40-7 score in Glendale early last season. But Tampa, which had an extra three days to prepare for this game following a close loss to the Patriots last Thursday, comes into Sunday's matchup as 1.5-point favorites over the banged-up Cards.
Will newly signed running back Adrian Peterson help Cardinals improve to 3-3, or will they fall two games below .500 heading into next weekend's game vs. the Rams in London? Here are a pair of predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this game for the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams may be sputtering, but the Buccaneers just held the Patriots' top-ranked passing offense to 19 points.
The Cardinals are not the Patriots. Right now, they’re not even close. They’re the worst rushing team in the NFL. Dead last in every major rushing category. Will the addition of seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson help them crawl out of the basement? Will their recent shakeup to the offensive line give Carson Palmer a little more protection?
Honestly, if this game was in Tampa Bay, I may have given the nod to the Bucs. But with it being in Glendale, and the fact the Cardinals are coming off one of their most embarrassing losses in the Bruce Arians era, something tells me they bounce back Sunday. But barely.
Cardinals 24, Buccaneers 21
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
I think Adrian Peterson will have a good game in his Cardinals debut. He’s well rested and has a lot to prove after the Saints didn’t seem to believe in him. Also, Tampa Bay’s passing defense is among the worst in the NFL, which could help Carson Palmer and the Cardinals stay competitive.
But the Bucs are simply a more balanced team and better up front. Arizona’s offensive line is still being patched together, and Tampa Bay has enjoyed the return of elite running back Doug Martin after he served a four-game suspension to begin the season.
The X-factor in this game could be wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who has put up big numbers against the Cardinals in the past. Patrick Peterson will likely be assigned to Pro Bowl WR Mike Evans, leaving the struggling Justin Bethel to cover the speedy Jackson. Look for QB Jameis Winston to exploit the Cardinals' struggling secondary and lead the Bucs to a road win.
Buccaneers 27, Cardinals 20