GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Cardinals made it through the first five weeks with a perfect record and relatively unscathed injury-wise, but now adversity has hit in a big way.
No Maxx Williams, no Rodney Hudson, no Chandler Jones. Heck, no head coach. I didn't like the Cardinals chances with a tough road test against a good Browns team to begin with, but now having to restructure their game day operations and play-calling last minute? Yikes.Browns 30, Cardinals 20
Glass half-full: the Browns are dealing with a laundry list of injuries themselves, including to star running back Nick Chubb.
Glass half-empty: they have another Pro Bowl caliber running back in Kareem Hunt.
There are no surprises with what the Browns' game plan will be. This is a team that runs the ball with more success than any other team in the NFL.
They lead the league in rushing yards per game, yards per carry, rushing touchdowns and are second in time of possession. After all, the best defense for Kyler Murray is keeping him off the field. The Cardinals defense gives up the second-most yards per carry in the league. That doesn't line up well for a Cardinals win.
But back to the Cardinals offense. I have a hard time picturing them move the ball up and down the field in Cleveland with their top two play-callers out with Covid. Kliff Kingsbury has been the voice in Kyler Murray's ear every game for the past three seasons. It's inevitable there are going to be growing pains.
I wish I had a rosier outlook for the only unbeaten team left in the NFL, but I think that's way too many hurdles to overcome, and the Cardinals lose for the first time this season.