The Arizona Cardinals were one game away from a Super Bowl in 2015. Now they may be a loss to the Washington Redskins away from missing the playoffs.
It’s also all over but the shouting in terms for the Washington Redskins when it comes to repeating as NFC East champions. On Thanksgiving afternoon at Dallas, the Cowboys completed the season sweep of Jay Gruden’s club, 31-26.
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One year after setting a franchise-record with 13 regular-season wins, the Arizona Cardinals have already lost twice as many games as they did a year ago. Bruce Arians’ disappointing 4-6-1 club is three full games behind the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1) with five games remaining.
Do either of these defending division champions have a realistic shot of getting back to the playoffs? Their fates could depend on this game.
Line: Cardinals (-2.5) Over/Under: 49.5
While some will focus on the battle of quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Carson Palmer, it may really be about how the Washington signal-caller fares against the NFL’s top-ranked defensive unit. Last Sunday at the Georgia Dome, Bruce Arians’ team couldn’t deal with the speed of the Atlanta Falcons’ receiving corps. This Sunday afternoon, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and the Arizona secondary has to deal with the likes of Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder and tight ends Joran Reed and Vernon Davis.
It’s been a rough year for Big Red. But this team is still capable of giving any team in the league fits. While Palmer has struggled throughout the year, he could spend the afternoon handing the ball to running back David Johnson. He could enjoy a nice afternoon against a Washington defense that couldn’t get off the field last week against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ ground attack a little over a week ago. Cousins will have his moments and the Redskins defense may even return a turnover for a score. But this is desperation time for Arians’ club and they will respond with a victory.