After missing out on the playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals (11-4) and Atlanta Falcons (5-10) look to at least end the season on a high note. On paper, this appears to be a battle of two teams playing for nothing more than pride; however, both are also vying for something much more important: momentum heading into next season.
Christmas night seemed a lot less merry for the Cardinals who, despite leading by 10 points late into the fourth quarter, eventually succumbed in overtime to the Buccaneers. Trace McSorley was making his first career start and threw for 217 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. James Conner broke off 79 rushing yards and scored their only touchdown of the evening, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to secure a win.
Things look even gloomier the day after Christmas for The Falcons who have now been eliminated from playoff contention after suffering a 17-9 defeat by The Ravens. Even though Desmond Ridder performed better than in his first start, he has yet to throw any touchdowns during his young career so far.
Cardinals vs Falcons Odds/Game Lines
Seeking Light in the Final Weeks
Despite neither team having anything to play for in terms of the playoff picture, there will be plenty of motivation as both teams look to finish the season strong and give their home trusty fans something to root for.
Both teams experienced a lackluster season, but the Falcons offer some hope to hang onto with positive contributions from their offense. Quarterback Desmond Ridder has made impressive strides in his first two games and hasn’t yet thrown an interception this season. Additionally, running back Tyler Allgeier is averaging 4.9 yards per carry on top of solid overall numbers from the offense at 17th in yards per play. While there’s no guarantee their performance will be enough to deliver success against the Cardinals, it gives Atlanta reason to try and make something of this game.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have had a nightmarish season on defense, failing to protect their rushing lanes and consistently allowing big plays despite being ranked 23rd in opponent yards per carry. Without an offense to lean on, the Cardinals have struggled to get any sort of reliable production. On top of that, they’ve registered the worst mark in the whole NFL over the last three games in terms of yards per play, averaging just 4.4.
In addition, the Cardinals’ defense is expected to diminish further as Budda Baker fractured his shoulder during their OT loss on Christmas day and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Baker has been a great defensive player for the Cards with a total of 111 tackles and two interceptions this season.