Preview: Arizona at Atlanta
When: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, November 30, 2014
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
The Arizona Cardinals remain in control of the NFC West despite a loss to Seattle and look to return to their winning ways when they visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Arizona had a six-game winning streak snapped in a 19-3 loss to the Seahawks but it not only holds a 1 1/2-game lead in the division but also boasts the best record in the conference. Atlanta is tied for first in the NFC South despite sporting a mediocre 4-7 record.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t letting the fact his team is three games .500 affect his thoughts per securing a playoff spot. “Obviously, we can’t change the previous 11 games and what we’ve done up until this point, I just hope that we can control what we do moving forward,” Ryan told reporters. “We need to play the football that we’re capable of playing across the board for four quarters.” The Cardinals are in the midst of one of the best seasons in franchise history and coach Bruce Arians isn’t concerned that one defeat throw his squad off course. “I think when you peak, you get momentum and you just ride it, and we’ve been riding it pretty good,” Arians told reporters. “We got knocked off the horse, so figure out why, get back on and let’s go.”
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cardinals -2.5. O/U: 44.5.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (9-2): Quarterback Drew Stanton struggled in the loss to Seattle, failing to guide the offense into the end zone while going 14-of-26 for 149 yards and one interception. Stanton represents a significant drop-off from injured Carson Palmer and it didn’t help that receiver Larry Fitzgerald (46 receptions, 658 yards) sat out with a knee injury and is in jeopardy of also missing the Atlanta game. Defensive end Calais Campbell had three sacks against Seattle and is tied with strong-side linebacker Alex Okafor for the team lead of six. The Cardinals have gone 21 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
ABOUT THE FALCONS (4-7): The offense is scoring 23.8 points per game – 12th in the NFL – with Ryan (3,066 yards, 19 touchdowns) and receiver Julio Jones (72 receptions for 980 yards and four scores) having productive seasons. Running back Stephen Jackson (501 yards) is having a down season, as is wideout Roddy White (56 catches, 662 yards), who is dealing with an ankle injury heading into the contest against Arizona. The defense is last in the NFL by allowing 409.9 yards per game despite strong play by middle linebacker Paul Worrilow (103 tackles) and the possible return of safety William Moore from a late September shoulder injury should help. “I missed a lot of time, so it’s going to be important that I come in and tackle well and know my assignment,” Moore told reporters.
1. Arizona posted a 27-13 win over the Falcons last season as RB Andre Ellington rushed for 154 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown.
2. Falcons SS Kemal Ishmael is tied for the NFC lead with four interceptions.
3. The Cardinals signed veteran RB Michael Bush (3,250 career rushing yards) earlier this week.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 23, Falcons 21
Stats and Records
Atlanta Off vs