Cardinals at Falcons
With the playoffs out of reach, the Arizona Cardinals and host Atlanta Falcons will be looking for something positive on which to build for next season when they square off on Sunday. The Falcons have lost five straight contests while the Cardinals have dropped four of their last five.
The Cardinals view the remainder of the season as an opportunity to continue rookie quarterback Josh Rosen’s development. “You can see the potential and the things he is capable of doing,” Arizona coach Steve Wilks told reporters. “I can go back throughout the season and pull positive things – the two-minute drives, the winning drives, the things he’s been able to operate under duress – so he has the qualities and the skill set. The inconsistency is there, but a lot of it is not just him, it’s the personnel, and that falls back on us as coaches to put those guys in position to be successful.” A porous defense and a non-existent ground game have derailed Atlanta’s season despite the fact Matt Ryan and Julio Jones continue to put up big numbers. It’s the last home game of the season for the Falcons, who are 3-4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -10. O/U: 44
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (3-10): Arizona ranks last in total offense and scoring despite having versatile running back David Johnson and veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Rosen completed a season-high 26 passes for 240 yards in last week’s 17-3 loss to Detroit, but Arizona was unable to find the end zone. The Cardinals’ pass defense has been outstanding — it held the Lions to 96 yards last week — but the club has been gashed on the ground.
ABOUT THE FALCONS (4-9): The passing game has been the only area in which Atlanta has enjoyed success, as Ryan has thrown for 4,076 yards with 28 touchdowns and six interceptions while Jones leads the league with 1,429 receiving yards. Running backs Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith have been unable to fill the void created by Devonta Freeman’s injury. The defense also was beset with injuries from the start of the season and has given up at least 130 rushing yards in each game during the team's losing streak.
1. Jones has recorded at least six receptions and 100 receiving yards in seven of his last eight games.
2. Arizona DE Chandler Jones has registered 5.5 sacks in his last five contests and 12 overall this season, tying him for second in the NFC.
3. Atlanta has had at least six receivers catch a pass in each of its last 12 games.