Last week, the Indianapolis Colts used their impressive rushing attack, led by Jonathan Taylor, to beat the Patriots 27-17. Now they visit the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16 with playoff positions on the line for both teams. NFL game odds have the Cardinals as one-point favorites. Here’s what you need to know about this Colts at Cardinals matchup.
Indianapolis at Arizona
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 25th
- Time: 8:15 PM EST
- Venue: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ
- Participants: Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals
The Colts have rebounded after starting the season at 0-3. The team has gone 8-3 since and won five of its last six games to reach an 8-6 record. Indianapolis is currently only a game behind the division-leading Titans.
If the Colts want to win the AFC South, they’ll need to get a victory this week to keep pace with the Titans.
Arizona started the season off at 7-0, but they’ve gone 3-4 since then. Last week, they were blown out by the one-win Detroit Lions. The Cardinals have been plagued with injury woes the past few weeks. First, they lost Kyler Murray for a time, and now DeAndre Hopkins will be out for this game and the foreseeable future. Defensive end J.J. Watt is also on injured reserve.
Last week’s loss at the Detroit Lions doesn’t concern me much. The Arizona Cardinals still have scoring weapons at their disposal to use this week, and their best shot to win may be on the ground.
Colts at Cardinals (-1)
This year, Jonathan Taylor has been dominant, with 1,518 yards, a 5.6-yard average, and 19 total TDs. But I believe it’s the Cardinals who can win this game by utilizing their running game.
In Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, the Cardinals ran the ball 37 times against 30 pass attempts. Although Conner shared duties with Chase Edmonds and Kyler Murray, the offense controlled the game.
The time of possession of 34:39 made a remarkable difference in a 37-14 win. The Arizona Cardinals are 5-0 when they rush for more than 130 yards in a game, and as Kyler Murray gets healthier, he can also use his legs more to move the chains.
The last team to beat the Colts was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 38-31, in Week 12. In a game that featured a vintage Tom Brady passing barrage, the Bucs also ran 27 times for 142 yards and four touchdowns. If the Cardinals can execute a similar strategy, I think they have a good chance at winning this game.
One thing to note for this game: Arizona is 9-1 overall in games when it scores over 21.4 points. Indianapolis ranks 15th in passing yards allowed per game, and over the past three games, Arizona has attempted an average of 38 passes, which is seventh in the NFL. They’ve also only given away 14 turnovers this season, so I don’t believe that they’ll give the Colts many extra possessions.
Week 16 Prediction
For me, this game comes down to ball control. The Cardinals don’t turn the ball over often and should find success with their passing attack. I believe that if Arizona can pass the ball well, it will force Indianapolis into taking some of their defenders out of the box, letting the Cardinals run the football and control the clock. I’m picking Arizona to win this game 24-17.
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