With only seven weeks left in the 2015 NFL season, teams that are trying to lock up playoff spots are going to be playing with a sense of urgency. This week, a couple of division leaders will be trying to give themselves a little cushion and improve their chances of earning a bye week in the playoffs when the Cincinnati Bengals play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.
The game will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, and is scheduled to begin at 8:30 PM. ET.
The Bengals were one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the league until they played the Houston Texans on Monday night, and they will be looking to rebound from the loss against a tough Arizona team.
The Cardinals are coming off a big win over the Seattle Seahawks and now have a three-game lead over the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. They will be trying to extend their winning streak to four games.
Cincinnati has been a very well balanced team on both sides of the ball this season. Offensively, they have had success passing and running the ball. Their pass offense averages 260.9 yards per game, and is 11th in the league, while their rush offense averages 115.2 points per game, and is 13th in the league.
The Bengals have also had a lot of success scoring points this season and are currently averaging 26.1 points per game, which is 5th in the league.
Defensively, Cincinnati has been the best team in the NFL and are allowing opponents to score a league-low 16.9 points per game. But they will have their work cut out for them against the Arizona offense which is averaging 33.6 points per game, which is the most in the league this year.
Arizona has been playing very well this season, which is mostly because Carson Palmer has been healthy this year, and Chris Johnson has been running the ball well. The Cardinals came into the season as contenders to represent the NFC in the playoffs, and for most of the season, they have looked the part.
Another storyline going into this game is the fact that Palmer will be playing the team he started his career with. He was the first pick in the 2003 NFL Draft and led the Bengals to two playoff appearances before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders after falling out with the front office.
The only time Palmer faced the Bengals after the trade, he was a member of the Oakland Raiders. This time, he will have more tools at his disposal as he tries to get some payback against his former team.
With the way both teams have played this season, this game could be a Super Bowl preview, which makes it a game that can’t be missed.
Cardinals vs Bengals Betting Lines
The Bengals will be motivated to get back to the winning column after their disappointing loss to the Texans, but I think the Cardinals offense will be too much for them to handle, so I’m going with the Cardinals in this game.
Play: Cardinals -5