The Arizona Cardinals are favored by five and a half points (+5.5) headed in to week 11. Wait, what?! Oh, the 1-8 Oakland Raiders, losers of five straight, are coming to town. The Cardinals aren’t much better at 2-7 but they still show fight. In a game that many thought would be a blowout loss against the Chiefs, the Cardinals looked respectable. The same can’t be said for Oakland. Many feel the Raiders called it quits quite some time ago. Head Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders front office elected to trade away superstar defensive end, Khalil Mack, and Amari Cooper – a young wide receiver who had shown promise not too long ago.
Part of the reason Arizona heads in to this Sunday being favored is due to Raiders receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant being ruled out because of injury. Look for Cardinals to fill the box and force Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to beat them through the air. With Oakland’s top two receivers out, the Arizona defense will be able to focus more attention on one of the league’s better tight ends in Jared Cook. Cook is ranked fourth in receiving yards among all tight ends. However, the Cardinals will need to find a way to slow down Cook without playmaking safety, Budda Baker. Baker has been ruled out with injury.
On the defensive side of the ball, Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley questionable. This does not bode well for a defense that already ranks 27th in yards per game (399.1) and 30th in points per game (30.2). Cards Offensive Coordinator, Byron Leftwich, will look to continue the momentum they built with David Johnson in last week’s game against the Chiefs. Johnson rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown while adding seven receptions for 85 yards and another score through the air.
A major reason Oakland has struggled on defense is their inability to pressure the quarterback. The Raiders have only eight total sacks on the year. To put that in to perspective, Cardinals defense end Chandler Jones has eight and a half sacks by himself – the Cardinals as a team have 29. However, if there was ever a week for the Raiders to add a handful of sacks to the stat book, it’s this week. The Cardinals have one of the worst offensive lines in recent memory. Right tackle Andre Smith has struggled mightily as of late and was flat out embarrassed last week against the Chiefs. Leftwich will need to provide help for him on the right side. The Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries and left guard Mike Iupati, are both questionable to play. In 2018, injuries have already ended the seasons of center A.Q. Shipley, guard Justin Pugh, and tackle John Wetzel. At this point the Cardinals are calling guys off the streets to block and are hoping and praying it doesn’t hurt their quarterback of the future, Josh Rosen.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05pm MT.
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