Preview Cardinals Host Surging Colts in


The Arizona Cardinals have had everything to gain over the previous two games.With a win in either matchup against the Rams or Lions, Arizona could have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2015.However, they still have not clinched, and this week has a caveat.The Rams caught up to Arizona in the standings at 10-4.The Cardinals own the tie-breaker and therefore the top spot in the NFC West heading into the weekend, but this is the first time in the second half of the year that they could lose it.The Cardinals look to get back on track against the surging Indianapolis Colts in a Christmas-Day showdown on Saturday in Glendale."Anytime youre able to defeat a team thats coming in as hot as anybody in the league theyre sound in all areas, theres really no weakne s, well-coached, great players, all those things it would be a confidence builder," head Timothe Luwawu Jersey coach Kliff Kingsbury said this week. "But it will be a huge challenge.Need to knowsGame date/timeSaturday, Dec. 25 at 6:15 p.m.TVNFL Network with Joe Davis, Kurt Warner, Meli sa Stark and Peter SchragerNational radioWestwood One Sports Ryan Radtke and Mike GolicLocal radioArizona Sports 98.7 FM with Paul Calvisi, Ron Wolfley and Dani SureckSpanish radioKHOV 105.1 FM with Luis Hernandez and Rolando CantuBetting lineCardinals -1 on SI SportsbookThe 8-6 Colts have won five of six games and present many challenges to the Cardinals specifically.For starters, Indianapolis is the league leader in turnover margin and tied for the Dana Barros Jersey most takeaways in the NFL.Linebacker Darius Leonard has six forced fumbles and three interceptions.The Cardinals have struggled with ball protection at home this season. Quarterback Kyler Murray has seven interceptions at home and three on the road.The Colts can burn teams quickly with additional po se sions due to their ground game.Running back Jonathan Taylor leads the league with 1,518 rushing yards. He's had a dominant stretch, averaging nearly 145 rushing yards per game over his last six.His speed stands out on film, but edge rusher Chandler Jones sees another element of his game that makes him dangerous."This guy has a lot of contact balance and that's dangerous," Jones said. "He's always falling forward . . . Everyone needs to swarm to the ball, we all need to get to him and, most importantly, wrap him up."Scroll to ContinueThe Colts beat Tiago Splitter Jersey the New England Patriots last week by running the ball 39 times with only 12 pa s attempts. They will do the same against Arizona unle s they are forced to adjust.Indianapolis is also the second-least penalized team in the NFL.The Cardinals' offensive i sues the past couple of games have been going backwards and include red-zone struggles.The Colts will test Arizona's discipline and ability to execute in high-leverage moments."If we can limit the penalties, turnovers, stuff like that, well be fine, Murray said.Murray was recently selected to the Pro Bowl, and deservingly so. He's second in the league in completion percentage and fourth in pa ser rating.But he was not sharp last week, and the Cardinals will need his peak form, especially with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on injured reserve.Kingsbury has said his team has yet to play its best football. He said that when the Cardinals were 7-0.There are areas in which Arizona has been great at times but the team needs to find consistency."The best teams in the NFL are going to be the ones that have the highest succe s of getting off the field or staying on the field on third down," running back Chase Edmonds said. "Also the ones that have the highest succe s of scoring touchdowns in the red zone or eliminating touchdowns in the red zone. Then there's the turnovers and the takeaways."The Cardinals at their best have been a dominant team in stretches this year.Linebacker Jordan Hicks said last Sunday that three games is enough time to get it rolling again ahead of the playoffs.Kingsbury said Conner, Garcia and Moore will be game-day decisions.These two squads have not seen each other much over the years. Their first meeting was in 1950, and Charles Barkley Jersey they have only played each other 17 times. Arizona leads the series 9-8, and it has had the upper hand recently.The Cardinals have won two straight Ben Simmons Jersey against Indianapolis with their most recent victory in 2017, 16-13.Jones had two sacks and a forced fumble that day.Players to watchExpertPlayerWhat to watch forHoward BalzerKyler MurrayThis might be stating the obvious, but Murray has had pa ser ratings in the 70s the last two games and that won't cut it against the Colts. Outsiders have taken some potshots this week, so it's paramount that he help lead this team to a stellar offensive performance.Alex WeinerChase EdmondsEdmonds got his feet wet in his return last week, but with James Conner banged up and against a strong defense, Edmonds may be the safety net the Cardinals need.Donnie DruinCorey PetersThere's no doubting what the game will come down to on Saturday: Stopping Jonathan Taylor. For much of the year, the Cardinals have struggled to effectively stop running backs, and Corey Peters looks to play a big role in commanding double-teams and freeing up space for linebackers to find Taylor and bring him down early.