|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
At 9-2, Arizona’s destiny is in its own hands. The Cardinals have a solid two-game lead on the Rams for the division but only a half-game lead for the No. 1 seed. Getting healthy will be a big boost to its top-seed odds. Even after Arizona’s bye, stars Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins have been limited in practice and are questionable for the game. Fortunately, the Cardinals’ other backups have answered the call so far, but that can only last so long.
Arizona is not alone in its fight against injuries. The Bears had extra time off because they played on Thanksgiving, and several of their stars are still likely out. This puts head coach Matt Nagy in a precarious position as the media had him fired before the Lions matchup — fortunately a win seems to have bought him some time. However, Chicago heads into a difficult stretch of games with its best players hurt, so that victory may have just been a stay of execution.
While both teams are beat up at key spots, the Cardinals have shown they can overcome their injuries while the Bears have underwhelmed. With Kyler Murray being a game-time decision, potentially trusting Colt McCoy with a touchdown spread is a bit much. Let’s see if we can find a better angle.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Cardinals vs. Bears Injury Report
- S James Wiggins (ankle): Out
- QB Kyler Murray (ankle): Questionable
- WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring): Questionable
- OL Justin Pugh (calf): Questionable
- CB Byron Murphy (foot): Questionable
- RB Damien Williams (calf): Out
- WR Marquise Goodwin (foot/ribs): Out
- DL Akiem Hicks (ankle): Out
- DL Mario Edwards (ribs): Out
- QB Justin Fields (ribs): Doubtful
- WR Allen Robinson (hamstring): Doubtful
- LB Roquan Smith (hamstring): Questionable
Cardinals vs. Bears Matchup
|Cardinals Offense||DVOA Rank||Bears Defense|
|Cardinals Defense||DVOA Rank||Bears Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
McCoy Has Kept Cardinals Offense Afloat
Despite Kyler Murray missing the last three weeks, Arizona’s offense has not been drastically worse. Colt McCoy has led the offense to two games with over 400 yards of total offense and averaged over 21 points per game. Arizona did have one hiccup against Carolina where nothing went right, but it has still been respectable regardless.
The most impressive part of the Cardinals staying afloat has been McCoy’s ability to spread the ball. In his three games at quarterback, no Cardinals receiver has more than 20 targets, while four have at least 15. Last year, there was doubt if this team had anyone outside of Hopkins to catch the ball, now it has threats everywhere.
While the offense has been formidable without Murray, the defense has been the backbone of this team. It is top five in both points and yards allowed and more importantly, it stifles teams in high-leverage moments. Arizona’s defense currently ranks in the top three in both third-down and fourth-down conversion rates. Against the Bears’ abysmal offense, this defense should absolutely feast.
Bears Offense Has Lacked a Bite
The last two weeks have been rough for the Bears offense. Chicago has averaged 365 yards of offense, but it has led to just 14.5 points per game. Against the Ravens, it seemed like nothing worked at all, outside of two busted coverages that led to 110 yards and two touchdowns. Chicago did have much more success sustaining drives against the Lions, but walking away with just 16 points against Detroit is a disappointment.
Looking to bounce back against Arizona is not an ideal situation. Chicago will be starting Andy Dalton once again. He will raise the floor for this offense, but we saw how stale the Bears can get in terms of style without Justin Fields leading the way.
One area that needs to step up for this offense to succeed is its ground game. It currently ranks 13th in yards per carry, but the Bears posted two of their three worst rushing performances in the last two weeks. Arizona ranks third-worst in yards per carry allowed, so if Bears fans are looking for a shred of hope, a dominant ground game is it.
Defensively, this team is simply ravaged by injuries. Khalil Mack is out for the season, Akiem Hicks is out for this game, and Roquan Smith is questionable but only practiced Friday in a limited capacity. The Bears were already in the bottom half of the league in yards and points per drive, and being beat up will not help. They have had two good weeks, but stopping the Lions and Tyler Huntley is nothing to boast about.
Cardinals vs. Bears Predictions, Picks
Right when Justin Fields started to hit his stride for Chicago, an injury struck and sucked optimism out of the Bears. They are now hurt on both sides of the ball and possibly waiting for a new coach to come in. Had Fields been healthy, he would give the team and fans someone to rally around as hope for the future. Instead, this is a banged-up team led by Andy Dalton stumbling along.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, have been able to overcome each hurdle thrown their way. Their three best players have all missed time and Arizona has a winning record without each. They control their fate for home-field advantage and will not risk it by overlooking the Bears in preparation for the Rams.
The only time Arizona looked helpless this year was against a talented Panthers defense. At full strength, the Bears may be able to replicate that success, but given their best three defenders may be out, that is a longshot.
In a game where Arizona has everything to play for and Chicago is just stumbling along, trust the Cardinals to take care of business early.
Pick: Cardinals 1H -4 | Bet to: -4.5