Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings
Date and Time: Sunday, November 20, 2016, 1 p.m. ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Week 11 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Cardinals -1, 40
Cardinals vs. Vikings TV Coverage: FOX
Something just hasn’t been right in the desert all season long. That was made clear way back in Week 1 when the team lost to the Jimmy Garoppolo led New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Since then, losses have been incurred against the Bills, Rams and Panthers, teams with a combined 11-16 record, along with a tie at home against the Seattle Seahawks which has done them no favors whatsoever.
While the defense has held up its end of the bargain in allowing a shade less than 296 yards per game and just under 18 points per game, the offense has failed to build upon last year’s breakout campaign. Carson Palmer owns a pedestrian 11:8 TD/INT ratio, and though the offense racks up an average of 382 yards per game, the Cardinals have had a heck of a time converting the yardage into points. Their 17.0 offensive yards per point average ranks No. 24 in the league.
Speaking of wretched and tough to watch offenses. The Vikings take the cake there with it ranked last in the league in total offense as well as rushing the football. Losing Adrian Peterson at the beginning of the year has a lot to do with that. Making matters all the more worse is a passing offense that’s gotten next to nothing done with Sam Bradford the ringleader of the league’s No. 23 ranked attack.
What got this team out to a perfect 5-0 start to the season was the defense. It gave up a grand total of 63 points during that stretch and constantly got after opposing quarterbacks and forced a multitude of turnovers. That hasn’t been the case whatsoever since the team returned from its Week 6 bye with each of its last four opponents scoring no less than 20 points. Injuries on the defensive side of the ball have played a key role in the units swift decline over the last month.
Larry Fitzgerald – The Cardinals premiere pass catcher was forced from last week’s game against the 49ers with a knee injury. Though he returned and still went on to haul in 12 catches for 133 yards, he’s been dealing with the injury all week in hopes that it doesn’t hamper his ability to play this Sunday. If not 100 percent, it will make the Vikings job of limiting what should be a potent Arizona pass catching corps much easier to deal with.
Xavier Rhodes – Already down a cornerback with Captain Munnerlyn nursing an ankle injury, the Vikings can ill afford to be without their top cover man this Sunday if it expects to keep the Cardinals passing attack under wraps. Rhodes was knocked out of last week’s game in Washington due to concussion-like symptoms. If he can’t go, the Vikes defense will be down a major weapon and will need to get tons of pressure from the front four to make up for it.
Cardinals vs. Vikings Free Picks
This is no doubt a desperation game for both of these clubs. The loser will find it that much tougher to lock down a playoff berth, so “A” games from both sides are expected. With that the case, I foresee the defenses dominating the festivities. Arizona’s offense has struggled to put points on the board all season. Minnesota needs its walking wounded on the defensive side of the ball to suit up for this game. If they do, this is going to be a defensive grinder that goes down to the wire.
Three of the Vikes four home games have combined to go under the NFL total odds at BookMaker.eu, and I expect that trend to better itself by one once this game is said and done. Look for points to be hard to come by with the game likely going down to the wire. It wouldn’t shock me if new kicker Kai Forbath kicked the game winner at the gun.
Cardinals vs. Vikings ATS Pick: Under 40 at BookMaker.eu
Cardinals vs. Vikings Score Prediction: Vikings 16 – Cardinals 13