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Giants - Cardinals
Game 13 preview
Sunday Dec 13, 1:00 PM - Cardinals at Giants

Giants (5-7) Cardinals (6-6)
The Cardinals took their third loss in a row on Sunday playing against the Los Angeles Rams. They scored a touchdown on their opening drive, but ended up losing the game, 38-28.
Last Sunday the Giants were in Seattle, up against a team that had twice as many wins. They pulled off a major upset, beating the Seahawks 17-12.

Arizona Cardinals
The last time the Cardinals were in the playoffs Bruce Arians was the head coach. In 2015 they won the NFC West with a 14-4 record, and were one victory away from playing in the Super Bowl. After defeating the Green Bay Packers, they lost in the NFC Championship game to the Carolina Panthers. Kliff Kingsbury is now in his second year as head coach of the team. The Cardinals were 5-10-1 in his first season, and things were looking very good when they were at 6-3 this year.
To get there, the Cardinals had an overtime win over the Seahawks that put them first in the division. Following that was a close loss to the Miami Dolphins, before Kyler Murray threw his Hail Murray pass in the final seconds of the next game to give the Cardinals a win over the Buffalo Bills. Since then the Cardinals have been on a three game losing streak in matchups against the Seahawks, Patriots, and Rams.

Cardinals Offense
Kyler Murray never threw a Hail Mary pass before that 43-yard touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. That gave Murray his third fourth-quarter comeback of the season, and it was the fifth game-winning drive of his career. The offense was off to an impressive start last week when Murray completed a 59-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dan Arnold on the first possession of the game. After that you wouldn't have expected the Cardinals to come up with just 232 yards of total offense, which was their worst output of the season.
It should help to have Larry Fitzgerald back. He was the leading receiver last year, and missed last week's game after landing on the COVID list. Fitzgerald is second on the team with 43 catches, and DeAndre Hopkins is first with 85.
The offensive line has done well so far for Murray this season. They have only allowed 20 sacks with four games left, and last year they gave up 48. Murray leads all quarterbacks with 665 rushing yards on 102 attempts, though in the last three games, all losses, it was 61 yards on 15 runs. Running back Kenyan Drake led the team last season with 170 carries for 817 yards and 8 touchdowns. He's already run for 768 yards and 8 touchdowns. Chase Edmonds ran all over the Giants in last year's matchup with 27 carries for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Cardinals Defense
They'll likely remember last year's 27-21 win over the Giants. In that game, they sacked Daniel Jones 8 times, had 1 interception, and recovered two of his fumbles. They like to blitz and do it about 40 percent of the time. They line up multiple players at the line of scrimmage to keep the offense guessing before dropping back into coverage. Despite that, the defense only has seven sacks in its past four games. Even with Jared Goff having 47 pass attempts last week, they sacked him only once. Goff completed 37 of those passes for 351 yards and 1 touchdown.
Hasson Reddick leads the team with five sacks. Dennis Gardeck has three. Safety Budda Baker has two interceptions on the year, and leads the team with 94 tackles. Markus Golden was the sack leader for the Giants last year with 10 sacks, and he's returned to the Cardinals, where he was drafted in 2015 after being traded midseason. Golden has had one sack in five games since being back. Overall this defense is allowing 123 yards per game, and 24.7 points per game. Their biggest strength is their red-zone defense where they rank fourth in the league, and they are first in goal-to-go situations.

Giants Offense
There's reasons why backup quarterbacks are backups and not starters. Daniel Jones was out last week, and Colt McCoy filled in his place. McCoy did his job, and it all worked out with the Giants winning over Seattle. The Giants had to focus more on using their running game, and it worked out very well for them. The Giants ran for 190 yards on 31 carries against Seattle, a team that had the third-best run defense. Wayne was the standout with 16 carries for 135 yards.
Jones was listed as questionable, but that has changed. Jones will play and the offense will be less limited, although lingering effects from his hamstring injury might affect his mobility. The offensive line keeps improving, though lining up against edge rusher Markus Golden could pose a problem. Golden is very familiar with the Giants system having played on the team just two months ago.

Giants Defense
During the last four games the defense has held each of their opponents to 20 points or less. Last week the high scoring Seahawks were held to 12 points, with 2 provided by a safety. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams recorded 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits in the Giants upset of the Seahawks, giving him a career-high 8.5 on the season
Kyler Murray had a great rookie year, and was off to an even better one, but maybe defenses have caught on. In the last three games Murray's passing yardage is down almost 60 yards a game. His rushing average has dropped 47 yards a game. Murray scored 10 rushing touchdowns before the last three games, but none during that stretch. The Giants defense did a fantastic job mixing up their schemes in the secondary against Russell Wilson last week. Murray is similar to Wilson and has far less experience.
His top target is wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who caught Murray's game-winning touchdown on a Hail Mary pass in the Buffalo game. James Bradberry will mostly travel with Hopkins, and likely as we've seen, the defense will continue to disguise coverages in order to force Murray into making mistakes. Arizona is averaging over 150 yards a game on the ground. We'll see how that goes, with the Giants giving up an average of 96.7 yards. It would be helpful to have Blake Martinez on the field overseeing all this. Martinez hurt his lower back near the end of the game last week, and is listed as questionable for this game.

The Giants are on a roll, winning four games in a row, and they are leading the NFC East. The Giants also have the best record in division wins, 3-2, with one left to go against the Cowboys in the last game of the season. Two of those wins were against Washington, who has the same 5-7 record.
The Cardinals have lost three straight games, and a chance for their first postseason game since 2015 is fading away. After the Giants,they have games against Philadelphia (3-8-1) and San Francisco (5-7) at home, before facing the Rams (9-4) again, this time in Los Angeles.
Both teams would sure like to win this one. With Daniel Jones returning, the Giants have a good shot at another upset.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Cardinals (6-6) at Giants (5-7).
Sunday at 1:00pm Cowboys (3-9) at Bengals (2-9-1).
Sunday at 4:25pm Saints (10-2) at Eagles (3-8-1).
Sunday at 4:25pm Washington (5-7) at San Francisco (5-7).
The Cowboys are the only NFC East team are favored to win in these games.
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Leonard Williams was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, coming off 2.5 sacks against Seattle.

Former Giant Justin Pugh is currently the left guard for the Cardinals.
Next Games
DEC 20 Cleveland at Giants

DEC 27 Giants at Baltimore

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