A pair of former No. 1 draft picks will meet Sunday when Kyler murray and the Arizona cardinals travel east to face Cam Newton and the New England Patriots.
While the former’s career is on the rise while the latter’s on the decline, this inter-conference showdown at Gillette Stadium should be fascinating because of the unique ways each quarterback shapes their respective offense.
While both quarterbacks are known for their running ability, they play very different games. Murray, a 5-foot-10-inch 207-pound spark plug, is the eleventh in the NFL In rushing races, he leads among quarterbacks, thanks to his fighting ability, game-breaking speed and slick running style. NewtonA 6ft 5in, 245lb tank, it is still the best close-range weapon in the game and more than dangerous in designed runs.
If either team is going to make a playoff run, it will come down to the quarterback game.
At 6-4, the Cardinals they have a better chance, even after losing their chance to take first place in the NFC West last Thursday in a 28-21 loss to the Seahawks. They are currently at the No. 7 seed and have four other teams within two games of them for the final spot in the playoffs.
New england He’s two games away from the last AFC wild-card spot at 4-6, but has a plausible path to the playoffs with several easy opponents (Chargers, Jets) and key divisional competition (Dolphins, Jets) on the schedule. The Patriots have struggled on the road (1-4), but have mostly been good at home (3-2).
So which former top pick and Heisman Trophy winner will come out on top Sunday? This game will tell us a lot about both playoff hopefuls.
Time and Channel Patriots vs Cardinals
Start: Sunday, November 29 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET in the United States. 12 pm in Mexico.
TV: FOX in the United States. Fox Sports in Mexico.
Spread: Cardinals -2.5
Three things to keep in mind
1. Can the Patriots contain Kyler Murray?
The Seahawks showed the plan to beat the Cardinals last week, even with the worst pass defense in the league. They increased the pressure on Murray and kept him from beating them with big passes (he only had 6.8 expected passing yards per attempt) while shutting him out completely in the running game.
Avoid what Murray Run is easier said than done, especially for a defense of the Patriots which has been devastated by casualties and injuries. In the last two weeks, Deshaun watson He had 36 yards and a touchdown on six carries and Lamar Jackson had 55 yards on 11 carries against New England. Keeping Murray within 15 yards on five carries like the Seahawks did would be a big job.
What could be easier is to slow down the passing game. Stephon gilmore returned from a knee injury last weekend and has the ability to take out DeAndre Hopkins of the game for the second week in a row. They’ve also been able to get away with allowing a league-highest 8.7 ypa when making 11 passes, tied for fourth in the NFL.
One thing worth keeping an eye on is the health of Murray. The second-year interlocutor sprained his AC joint in his throwing shoulder and was visibly sore during his final game. He’s not expected to miss at any point, but it could affect his passing, especially on deep balls.
2. Will a pass catcher emerge from the Patriots?
New england have had trouble developing a receptor other than Julian Edelman For much of the past decade, and with the 34-year-old’s ineffectiveness and injuries this season, that problem hasn’t improved. The Patriots they’ve had to settle for a rotating cast of receivers just for the offense to be functional.
For a moment, it seemed that Jakobi meyers could be ready to escape. The 23-year-old didn’t have his first start until Week 8, but he racked up 23 receptions on 31 goals for 286 yards over the next three weeks. In the last game, however, he only got three goals and caught them all for 38 yards.
There was similar optimism for the 2019 first round player, N’Keal Harry, after being targeted 18 times in the first two weeks and hitting 13 for 111 yards. But he received just 14 total goals in his next five games, until he led all receivers with eight goals (five catches, 41 yards) against Houston.
Favorite target of Newton this season has been Damiere Byrd, an officer who briefly played with him in Carolina. Last week he had 132 receiving yards, the highest of his career, along with his first touchdown. But he only has 32 receptions for 469 yards on the season.
Finding out if receivers are long-term goalkeepers is crucial for the Patriots, but New england It’s a good bet to keep broadcasting it on Sunday. With Rex Burkhead out with a knee injury, James White should have even more action. But it is difficult to predict which receptors it will turn to Newton, and there won’t be a clear-cut option Patrick Peterson can focus on.
3. Can New England keep Cam Newton upright?
This has been the question all season for the Patriots, as his O line has been questionable for the first time in recent memory with the retirement of key assistant Dante Scarnecchia. Newton has been prone to injury lately, and keeping him healthy and his jersey clean is of the utmost importance.
In the four defeats of the Patriots, he has been sacked only five times in total, and during his brief two-game winning streak, opponents attacked him only once. But in his six losses, he had 10 sacks. The Cardinals They are tied for 11th in the league with 25 sacks, but have had three in two of their three games since leaving.
Watch out for linebacker Haason reddick, who has eight TFLs and three sacks since joining the starting lineup in Week 6. He’s part of a deep defense that includes 15 players with at least one sack and seven with multiple sacks.
New England monitor the health of the left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who left last week’s game with a right leg injury. The Pats are already opening sixth-round rookie Michael Onwenu at right tackle and could be even more vulnerable without his robust blind-side tackle.
New England Patriots vs Arizona Cardinals LIVE
It’s shocking, but the Patriots they have lost five of their last nine games at Gillette Stadium. Their home advantage is not what it used to be, especially without fans in the stadium. However, playing at 11 a.m. body time will not be an easy lift for kids. Cardinals, even if they have half a break after their TNF game.
New England He has a path to keeping his season alive and it begins with the slowdown of Kliff Kingsbury’s powerful offense. The Patriots They have a game plan to follow after seeing Seattle’s narrow win last week, and now they just need to move on and hope they have enough horses. This one has the makings of one of the best games on Sunday.
Prediction: Cardinals 28, Patriots 27