Kevin Kolb was sacked nine times and the offense was unable to do much of anything as the Cards were dominated by the Rams 17-3 in that Thursday night loss.
Buffalo, on the other hand, has struggled mightily in the defense department. They’ve surrendered 97 points over the last two weeks in ugly losses to the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Cardinals have already knocked off two AFC East opponents: the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. Sunday’s matchup against the Bills may be their third consecutive win over the division this year.
It will also help perpetuate the surprising dominance of the NFC West through the first five weeks of the 2012 season.
When: October 14, 4:05 p.m. ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
Live Stream: DirecTV Sunday Ticket (Pay Service)
Listen: WGR 550 in Buffalo, 620 (AM) and 92.3 KTAR (FM) in Arizona
Odds: Arizona Cardinals at -4.5 (BetOnline)
The Cards will win by five or more points.
Arizona has the defense it takes to carry a team to a victory. They’ve shut down several prominent offenses, including the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Couple that with the Bills’ awful defense, and the Cardinals will easily walk away with a win to more than cover the 4.5 spread.
Over/Under: +/- 43.5 (BetOnline)
Bet under in this one.
Buffalo is the only one of these teams that has the offense capable of putting up big numbers. Despite their bad defense, the Cardinals offense is just as bad, and it will be an ugly game on both sides of the ball for both teams.
Look for a low-scoring game that will be decided by defense and possibly special teams plays.
Injury Reports (NFL.com):
|CB||Aaron Williams||Hand||Full Participant||Prob.|
|DE||Mario Williams||Wrist||Full Participant||Prob.|
|RB||William Powell||Head||Full Participant||Prob.|
|QB||John Skelton||Ankle||Full Participant||Prob.|
|G||Adam Snyder||Elbow||Full Participant||Prob.|
|RB||LaRod Stephens-Howling||Hip||Full Participant||Prob.|
NFL Films Game Preview:
Key to Buffalo Victory: Minimize Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Mistakes
Fitzpatrick and turnovers are a dangerous combination. As a team, Buffalo has turned the ball over 13 times through five weeks. That’s good enough for the fourth-most in the NFL over that time span. Of those 13 turnovers, eight have been interceptions thrown by their gunslinging quarterback.
Arizona is banking on Fitzpatrick making some of those mistakes again this Sunday. They’ve capitalized on turnovers and a staunch defense to limit their opponents to just 15.6 points per game.
There’s one thing that the Bills offense has done well despite their struggles. That’s running the football. If C.J. Spiller is back to near-100 percent, Buffalo may be able to move Arizona’s defense and create some big plays on the ground to take the pressure off Fitzpatrick. That’s a big if considering the injuries plaguing the Bills upfront.
Key to Arizona Victory: Find a Way to Run the Football
Arizona is averaging just 63.4 yards on the ground through five weeks of action. That’s a testament to both the team’s offensive line struggles and injuries that have depleted their backfield.
The team’s leading rusher heading into this matchup is Kevin Kolb, with 34 yards on 11 scrambles. That’s due to both Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells being lost to injury. Wells is out for the season with a shoulder injury and Williams will be back sometime in November after being placed on the non-season ending injured reserve.
Buffalo ranks 30th in the NFL in rush defense, surrendering 171 yards rushing on the ground. That means the Cards will need to find some way to exploit that and get William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling actively involved in the game plan.
Prediction: Arizona 27, Buffalo 13
This game will not be as close as some people may think. Despite Arizona’s struggles against the Rams last week, they will bounce back against a severely less talented Bills defense in Week 6.
Arizona will cover the spread by running the football with anyone they plug in while Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald will hook up for a pair of touchdowns. It’ll be over quick after Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a pick-six that will deflate his traveling teammates.
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