Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Thursday, December 10, 2015, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: NFL Network
Opening Line: Arizona -7 (-115)
Current Line: Arizona -10
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 45 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cardinals -330 / Vikings +265
Current Money Line: Cardinals -490 / Vikings +390
Two NFC playoff contenders meet as the 10-2 Arizona Cardinals host the 8-4 Minnesota Vikings Thursday night. Arizona leads the NFC West by three games over the 7-5 Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals can clinch at least a tie for the division title with a win against the Vikings, and will clinch it outright if Seattle loses at the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. Arizona has a pretty firm grip on the #2 seed and a first round bye. Only the 12-0 Carolina Panthers have a better record in the NFC. The Cardinals have won six straight games.
Minnesota is tied with the Green Bay Packers for first in the NFC North, but the Packers hold the tie-breaker with a head to head victory. Minnesota would currently be the #5 seed as a wild card. The Panthers, Cardinals, Packers, Vikings and Seahawks are the only NFC teams above .500 right now.
Minnesota leads the series 15-10 against Arizona. The Vikings have won five of the last six against the Cardinals, including three straight all in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 21-14 in 2012 in the last meeting. Minnesota hasn’t played in Arizona since 2009, also the only Cardinal win recently.
Minnesota is coached by Mike Zimmer. Minnesota has road losses at the San Francisco 49ers 20-3 and Denver Broncos 23-20, plus home losses to the Packers 30-13 and Seahawks 38-7 last week. The Vikings have lost two of their last three games after a five game winning streak. The Vikings have home wins over the Detroit Lions 26-16, San Diego Chargers 31-14, Kansas City Chiefs 16-10, and St. Louis Rams 21-18, plus road wins over the Lions 28-19, Bears 23-20, Oakland Raiders 30-14 and Atlanta Falcons.
Minnesota was a 2.5 point underdog against Seattle last week and the total was 43. Seattle dominated from start to finish. The Seahawks took a 35-0 lead with a minute left in the third. The lone bright spot for the Vikings came on the ensuing kickoff when Cordarrelle Patterson ran it back 101 yards for the touchdown. Seattle would add a fourth quarter field goal to complete the rout and send the game over the total. Seattle had over 400 total yards and held Minnesota to a paltry 125 total yards. Minnesota is 9-3 ATS and the total is 2-9-1 this season.
Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The Cardinals have a home loss to the Rams 24-22 and a road loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-13. Arizona has home wins over the New Orleans Saints 31-19, 49ers 37-7, Baltimore Ravens 26-18, and Cincinnati Bengals 34-31, along with road wins at the Bears 48-23, Lions 42-17, Cleveland Browns 34-20, Seahawks 39-32, 49ers 19-13 and Rams 27-3.
Arizona was a 2.5 point road favorite at St. Louis last week and the total was 43. The Cardinals took a 10-0 lead into halftime. The Rams kicked a field goal in the third to pull within 10-3, but the Cardinals scored the last 17 points of the game. Arizona had over 500 total yards and held St. Louis to just 212 yards. It was a far different result than when the Cardinals turned the ball over three times in a week four loss. Arizona is 7-5 ATS and the total is 8-4 this season.
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Minnesota is outscoring teams 21-18 this season. The Vikings are #3 in points allowed and #23 in scoring. Minnesota averages 330 yards per game on offense including 188 passing and 142 rushing yards. The Vikings are #2 in rushing but are #29 or worse in passing and total offense. Minnesota allows 335 total yards per game on defense including 225 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Vikings are in the top ten in total and pass defense. Minnesota is 49/136 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 48/141. The Vikings have allowed 31 sacks and have forced 23 this season. Minnesota is +1 in turnovers. The Vikings have 3 special teams/defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,106 yards with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 30 carries for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Shaun Hill is the back-up.
Adrian Peterson has 208 carries for 1,006 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 21 catches for 154 yards. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata will also get carries. Asiata only has 16 carries, but does have 13 catches out of the backfield.
Receiver Stefon Diggs has 36 catches for 573 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mike Wallace has 28 catches for 318 yards and a touchdown. Jarius Wright has 17 catches for 244 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 29 catches for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns. Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen each have 9 catches. Thirteen defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
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Arizona is outscoring teams 34-19 this season. The Cardinals are #3 in scoring and #8 in points allowed. The Cardinals are averaging 406 total yards per game on offense including 284 passing and 122 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #6 or better in total and passing defense. Arizona is allowing 329 total yards per game including 224 passing and 105 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #7 in pass defense and #6 in total defense. Arizona is 27/68 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 29/87. The Cardinals have forced 8 sacks and have allowed 9 this season. Arizona is +3 in turnovers. The Cardinals have a special teams touchdown and three defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 64.8% of his passes for 1,737 yards with 14 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 10 rushing yards. Running back Andre Ellington has 16 carries for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 3 catches for 54 yards. Chris Johnson has 93 carries for 445 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 56 yards. David Johnson has 21 carries for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 43 catches for 583 yards and 6 touchdowns. John Brown has 33 catches for 497 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is questionable with a hip injury. Michael Floyd has 13 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Darren Fells has 9 catches for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out until early November with a hip injury. Jaron Brown has 4 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Four defensive players are listed on the injury report.