How to Watch: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Preview

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Cardinals at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 20, 1 p.m.

(FOX)

 

Cardinals  

Vikings

4-4-1, 2nd NFC West

Record

5-4, 2nd NFC North

22.4

Points Per Game

19.4

17.8

Points Allowed Per Game

16.9

382.0 yards per game, 7th

Total Offense

302.3 yards per game, 32nd

295.2 yards per game, 2nd

Total Defense

308.8 yards per game, 3rd

272.9 yards per game, 7th

Passing Offense

232.6 yards per game, 23rd

195.2 yards per game, 2nd

Passing Defense

211.8 yards per game, 6th

109.1 yards per game, 13th

Rushing Offense

69.8 yards per game, 32nd

100 yards per game, 12th

Rushing Defense

97 yards per game, 10th

0, 19th

Turnover Differential

+12, 2nd

24, 8th

Sacks

22, 10th

27, 29th

Sacks allowed

24, 23rd

Carson Palmer, 2,444 yards, 11 TD, 8 INT

Quarterback

Sam Bradford, 2,022 yards, 11 TD, 2 INT
Larry Fitzgerald, 68 catches, 686 yards, 5 TD

Leading Receiver

Stefon Diggs, 61 catches, 710 yards, 2 TD

David Johnson, 175 carries, 760 yards, 9 TD

Leading Rusher

Jerick McKinnon, 81 carries, 241 yards, 1 TD

 

Injury Report

Vikings Injury Status
Terence Newman, CB Illness Questionable
Laquon Treadwell, WR Hamstring Questionable
Eric Kendricks, LB Hip Questionable
Captain Munnerlyn, CB Ankle Questionable
Marcus Sherels, CB Wrist Questionable
Zac Kerin, C Hand Questionable
Xavier Rhodes, CB Concussion Questionable
Cardinals    
Tyrann Mathieu, S Shoulder Doubtful
Alex Okafor, LB Knee Questionable
Deone Bucannon, LB Ankle Questionable
Joplo Bartu, LB Hamstring Questionable
Ed Stinson, DE Toe Questionable
Tharold Simon, CB Ankle Questionable
Robert Nkemdiche, DT Undisclosed Questionable
Larry Fitzgerald, WR Knee Probable

 

Betting Lines

Vikings (-2); Over/Under 40.

Berserker Betting Take: I haven’t liked a Vikings line in a few weeks now but today is the day I jump back on ship. Arizona’s three-worst offensive performances have come on the road and the Cardinals bring in a banged-up offensive line. In what is shaping up to be a defensive battle, I’ll take the home team to win by a slim margin but enough to cover the two points.

Main Storyline: Sunday’s matchup features two NFC teams trying to keep their heads above water in the playoff race. The Vikings struggles and recent slide has been well documented while Arizona attempts to claw itself out of a 1-3 start. Minnesota needs a win to regain some of its early-season swagger heading into a huge Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Lions. The Cardinals are looking up in the division at the surging Seahawks and can’t afford to fall any further down the standings.

Arizona has issues along the offensive line, allowing quarterback Carson Palmer to be sacked 14 in the last three games. Nickel corner/safety Tryann Mathieu is out but the Cardinals still boast one of the more talented defenses in the NFL. The Vikings offense will need to find a way to manufacture some easy points.

Key Matchup: Vikings linebackers vs. David Johnson. Minnesota has been gashed in recent weeks for big runs by running backs with far less clout than Johnson. The Cardinal tail back is one of the best talents in the league with the ability to hurt opposing defenses on the ground and in the pass game (8 rushing touchdowns; 453 yards receiving, 1 touchdown).

Eric Kendricks returns to the lineup and should be a big boost against the pass game while Anthony Barr is still searching for his old form. How well these two can contain Johnson, especially on third down, will be paramount. The Cardinals offensive line is beat up so if the Vikings can slow Johnson and the running game, build a lead and force the Cardinals to be one-dimensional—it could be a big day for the defense.

Why I’m nervous: T.J. Clemmings is starting at left tackle—it is that simple. I have actually been encouraged by what I’ve seen offensively the last two weeks under Pat Shurmur. But with Jake Long (who was starting to play well) out for the year, Clemmings slides back over to left tackle and will likely face a heavy dose of Chandler Jones. Yikes. If the Clemmings can’t keep Sam Bradford upright it could be a very long day against a stout Arizona defensive unit.

Why I’m overly confident: It is hard to win five games in a row in the NFL. It might be equally as hard to lose five straight unless you’re the Cleveland Browns. By simple law of averages the Vikings are due for a victory. At home against a beat-up Arizona offense, Minnesota should sneak this one out. Patrick Peterson shadowing Stefon Diggs won’t be fun but the Vikings have enough weapons to expose some of the lesser-talented Cardinal defenders. Minnesota’s defense is poised to have a big game against Carson Palmer who seems to be a different player on the road.

Berserker Prediction: I thought picking against the Vikings last week might reverse their fortunes. Wrong. So I’m going to jump back on the train. Defense comes up big behind the home crowd, setting up the offense with some short fields. Vikings 23, Cardinals 16.

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