We just can’t get away from these mobile guys,” Jason McCourty said. “From Lamar Jackson, to Deshaun Watson, to now, Kyler Murray… he’s about to make every throw, and he’s killing guys, being able to get out of the pocket. He’s so fast, so quick, he’s just like a receiver or skill guy, running back, when he has the ball in his hands.
The results have been markedly different.
The Patriots were able to bottle Jackson up and upset the Ravens, but were then absolutely dissected by Watson. So what will this Sunday bring?
Murray has been the best quarterback in the league with his legs — he’s run for 10 touchdowns — but is nursing a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, so Kliff Kingsbury may try to lighten his workload.
CARDINALS OFFENSE VS. PATRIOTS DEFENSE
— Who wins Gilmore vs. Hopkins?
Get your popcorn ready; it sounds like we’re going to see another All-Pro matchup between Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins. Appearing on the Zolak and Bertrand Show, Gilmore was asked who he’d be covering this weekend.
“I think everybody knows,” Gilmore replied.
Gilmore shadowed Hopkins when he was a Texan last season — the wide receiver was held to five catches for 64 yards in Houston’s win — and the two traded barbs on Twitter after the game.
— Can they contain Kyler?
Murray isn’t as refined as Watson with his arm, so keeping him bottled up in the pocket would go a long way towards winning the football game.
Easier said than done, though.
“He’s elusive and hard to tackle because he’s quick and he’s fast and he’s a very instinctive player,” Belichick said, “He’s quick, but he’s fast. He can he can get away from most everybody. So, you have to maintain leverage and take an angle on him or have an angle with him with multiple people that just limit the amount of space that he can work in. But, he’s very dynamic player.”
— Can they actually hit the quarterback?
The Patriots gave Watson all day to throw the ball and paid the price; pass rushers didn’t record a sack and only hit him twice.
That’s been a season-long trend.
The Patriots are currently tied for 28th in the league with just 13 sacks on the year. They’re dead last in quarterback hits, with 37 in 10 games. For the sake of comparison, Pittsburgh leads the league with 99.
PATRIOTS OFFENSE VS. CARDINALS DEFENSE
— Can Cam Newton hit the simple throws?
Newton threw some beautiful deep balls in Houston, but the intermediate passing game was far more hit-or-miss. There were a few one-hopped short passes and a number of balls batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Newton said he’s still striving to clean up that inconsistency.
“Truth be told, you practice — (Bill Belichick) speaks on it all the time — to have great fundamentals when you need them the most,” Newton said. “And just sometimes the ball just gets away from you, you just kick a bad ball, you shoot a bad shot, you just throw a bad pass. And that’s what it is. I just have to be more conscientious of those type of throws — what did you say, mid-range checkdowns, to the left, or whatever. You just got to stay consistent, and so that’s all I’m trying to shoot for.”a
— Do they get back to Damien Harris?
Houston had the NFL’s worst run defense, so it was head-scratching to go away from Damien Harris.
The Cardinals have struggled to stop the run, too — they currently sit 23rd — and were gashed for 165 yards last week at Seattle.
Will Josh McDaniels stick with the ground game this time? And what’s Sony Michel’s role? The veteran running back was activated off injured reserve last weekend but wasn’t actually active on game day.
“He’s got fresh legs,” Newton said. “And we were anticipating him and just to have so much firepower in that running back room, man.”
— Can they play turnover free?
Winning the turnover battle has been crucial for the Patriots this season: They’re 4-0 when they do and 0-6 when they don’t.
As such, Newton has played far more carefully in November. He’s yet to throw an interception and only has one fumble (albeit, a big one).
“Cam’s taken a lot of personal responsibility and pride in the ball security over the last month of the season – not that he didn’t earlier, but just even taking it to a higher level,” Belichick said. “And he’s done a great job protecting the ball. Last week, to have the yardage throwing that he had and not have dangerous throws or contested throws is a real testament to his ability to read the defense and get the ball to the receivers that are open.”
ARI: Zane Gonzalez.
FG: 15-19, PAT 32-33.
NE: Nick Folk
FG: 17-19, PAT 18-20.
After a shaky start to the season Folk has found his groove, nailing 17 consecutive field goals.
Line: Cardinals -2.
Forecasters are calling for clear skies and temperatures in the high 40s at kickoff.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS — OUT
RB Rex Burkhead (knee)
OT Isaiah Wynn (knee)
No Players Listed
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (groin)
DL Tashawn Bower (illness)
DL Adam Butler (shoulder)
DL Byron Cowart (back)
DL Carl Davis (concussion)
DB Kyle Dugger (toe)
K Nick Folk (back)
CB Stephon Gilmore (hand)
WR N’Keal Harry (shoulder)
TE Ryan Izzo (hamstring, hand)
G Shaq Mason (calf)
WR Matthew Slater (knee)
RB J.J. Taylor (quad)
ARIZONA CARDINALS — OUT
TE Darrell Daniels (ankle)
DL Josh Mauro (hamstring)
S Jalen Thompson (ankle)
No Players Listed.
OL Justin Murray (hand)
S Charles Washington (groin)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Cam Newton, how does it feel to have so many young players in the league looking up to you as a hero?
“It’s cool — but I still want to beat ‘em.”
Patriots 24, Cardinals 20
Don’t bet against Belichick as a home underdog.
The Patriots actually stick to their ground game this week, dictate the tempo, and Murray doesn’t look 100%. J.C. Jackson records another interception and New England stays in the hunt.
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Why Arizona Cardinals Will Win
The Cardinals will take their chances with Cam Newton throwing the ball.
The Patriot game has been better – it threw for 349 yards last week in the loss to Houston – but the team works better when it’s dominating on the ground. Even when the air show is working, there aren’t enough downfield shots – New England is last in the NFL in yards per attempt – and the Cardinals have been able to slow down the mediocre passing games to a dead stop at times.
The Patriot run defense has tightened up over the last few weeks, but this is the time to pound away. New England is 0-4 when allowing 135 rushing yards or more. However …
– CFN Experts Picks: NFL
Why New England Patriots Will Win
Is Kyler Murray healthy? He’s going to play through a shoulder injury, but the running game didn’t work against Seattle when he wasn’t taking off – the team finished with 57 yards on the ground.
The Arizona run defense isn’t great, but teams don’t go at it enough. Everyone throws in shootouts, but this is where Cam Newton and the Patriot ground game start to hammer away, control the clock, and hope that Murray isn’t Murray on the move.
– CFN Experts Picks: College
Fantasy Football Player To Watch
QB Cam Newton, New England
Just when it seemed like the passing game wasn’t going to be a part of the season, Newton threw for 365 yards in the loss to Houston. He’s not running for big yards, but he continues to be automatic around the goal line. With Rex Burkhead out, and in a game that’s going to be all about ball control, this might be when Newton comes up with a season-high in carries.
What’s Going To Happen
Arizona is leaking oil, losing two of the last three games when the offense didn’t quite play like its normal self and the D started to struggle after a great midseason stretch.
New England will grind it out and will be the difference with a great day from several parts. Expect 175 Patriot rushing yards and an inspired day from the defensive front.
Arizona Cardinals vs New England Patriots Prediction, Line
New England 26, Arizona 24
Bet on Arizona vs New England with BetMGM
Arizona -2, o/u: 49
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 3
5: Thanksgiving beef tenderloin
1: Thanksgiving turkey
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The Arizona Cardinals (6-4) and New England Patriots (4-6) face off on Sunday in a Week 12 NFL game.
Which team will get the victory?
Check out these Week 12 NFL picks and predictions for the game, which can be seen at 11 a.m. Arizona time on Fox.
The Cardinals are a 2.5-point favorite in the game.
MORE:NFL playoff picture: New Orleans Saints hold top spot in NFC, Arizona Cardinals hold last
Pro Football Network: Cardinals 26, Patriots 17
Jarrett Bailey writes: “The Cardinals being favored by only 2.5 is one of the more generous Week 12 opening betting lines. Yes, they dropped a Thursday night thriller to the Seahawks, but Arizona has proven themselves as one of the most electrifying teams in the NFL. DeAndre Hopkins is the best receiver in the league right now in terms of receiving yards, and Kyler Murray is in the MVP conversation. New England is very up and down. One week they beat Baltimore; the next they are losing to the Texans. All the opt-outs have been noticeable, and the lack of any explosive talent on offense is very apparent. Arizona is the more prolific team, and they will rebound to keep pace with Seattle in the NFC West race by beating New England and covering in the process.”