The Arizona Cardinals (10-5) clinched a playoff berth even with a loss last week. According to NFL odds in Week 17, the Cardinals are a six-point underdog against the Dallas Cowboys (11-4).
Let’s look at the scoring potential of Arizona this week at Dallas.
Arizona Cardinals (+5.5)
- Date: Sunday, Jan. 2nd
- Time: 4:25 P.M. EST on FOX
- Venue: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
The Arizona Cardinals lost 22-16 at home last week against the Indianapolis Colts (9-6). Kyler Murray threw for 245 yards and one touchdown on 43 attempts.
Murray led the MVP race early this season, obtaining a passer rating in the 100s in six out of his first seven games. The Cardinals won their first seven matchups of the season.
Then in Week 8, the Green Bay Packers came to town for Thursday Night Football. Murray threw two interceptions and ran for only 21 yards. An ankle injury in that game kept him sidelined for the next three matchups.
DeAndre Hopkins also suffered a hamstring injury against the Packers. He missed the Cardinals’ next three games, as well.
Murray and Hopkins returned for a convincing 33-22 win against the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
The following week on Monday Night Football, Murray threw two picks without a score against the Los Angeles Rams. Hopkins suffered a season-ending knee injury in that 30-23 loss.
To make matters worse, the Cardinals lost 30-12 on the road to the Detroit Lions in Week 15. Murray had a 56.1 completion percentage, his lowest of the season.
Since starting the season 7-0, the Cardinals have gone 3-5. The NFC West remains the only division left to claim in the conference, with the Cardinals one game behind the Rams.
With the NFC West up for grabs, what is Arizona’s scoring potential against the Cowboys?
Cardinals vs. Cowboys
Hopkins is the seventh Cardinals’ player to be placed on injured reserve in November and December. Also, James Conner’s injuries to his ankle and heel kept him out of last week’s game against the Colts.
With Conner listed as questionable against the Cowboys, the Cardinals may have to lean on Chase Edmonds again.
Edmonds had 16 carries for 56 yards and a rushing touchdown last week. He was also the leading receiver with eight receptions for 71 yards.
Murray has excellent receivers in Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, and Zach Ertz. They combined for 16 receptions and 135 receiving yards without a score last week.
Dallas’ passing defense ranks 20th for yards allowed per game this season (240.7). However, they’ve given up only 158 passing yards on average in their last three matchups, the third-best in the NFL.
In recent weeks, Arizona also ranks third in passing yards, averaging 294 yards per their last three contests. When it comes to scoring, their passing offense has averaged 0.7 touchdowns during that same span, a significant step down from their season average of 3.1.
While the Cardinals are ranked 8th in red-zone scoring this season (62.07%), they are also at the league’s bottom in their last three games (30.00%).
Dallas has allowed 20.5 PPG this season, giving up an average of 13.3 PPG in their previous three matchups. While Arizona has averaged 30.3 PPG on the road, they’ve averaged only 17.0 PPG in their last three contests.
That’s probably not going to be enough to beat the Cowboys, who are first in the league at scoring and have averaged 38.4 PPG at home this season.
Arizona Cardinals: Can They Keep Up With the Cowboys?
Much like the Cowboys, the Arizona Cardinals have plenty of offensive weapons. Unfortunately, Murray and the Cardinals have struggled as of late. Also, they’ll likely be without Hopkins for the playoffs unless the team makes a deep postseason run.
Without the threat of Hopkins in the lineup, teams can play more aggressive coverage, which also helps to contain Murry from scrambling out of the pocket. If the Cowboys can do that this week, that might go a long way in keeping the Cardinals under 21 points.
What do you think?
Check out BetMGM’s King of the Weekend promo to pick the top six teams with the most points this week. You could be eligible for a grand prize of $50,000. Sign up for an account to get started.
NFL Prop Bets at BetMGM
At BetMGM, you can NFL props each week of the season.
Whether you like player props, alternate spreads, or game props, there’s something for everyone with online betting from the preseason through the Super Bowl.