All In The Cards: Thursday Night Football Edition (Week 13 Recap and Week 14 Preview)

Because the Arizona Cardinals are playing on Thursday night I decided to yet again combine the previous week’s recap this this week’s preview. This week the Cardinals will be hosting a Minnesota Vikings team that was just destroyed by the Seattle Seahawks and is looking to bounce back in a huge way. I hope you enjoy and if you do make sure to follow me on Twitter @QTipsforsports or just search the hashtag #Allinthecards for in-game thoughts and analysis. Before we get to this week’s matchup, let me make a couple of comments about last week’s games:

How I Did With My Week 13 NFL predictions:

  • Arizona 27, St. Louis 3 – (1-0)
  • Green Bay 27, Detroit 23 – (2-0)
  • Tampa Bay 23, Atlanta 19 – (3-0)
  • Buffalo 30, Houston 21 – (3-1)
  • San Francisco 26, Chicago 20 – (3-2)
  • Cincinnati 37, Cleveland 3 – (4-2)
  • Tennessee 42, Jacksonville 39 – (4-3)
  • Miami 15, Baltimore 13 – (4-4)
  • Seattle 38, Minnesota 7 – (4-5)
  • New York Jets 23, New York Giants 20 – (4-6)
  • Denver 17, San Diego 3 – (5-6)
  • Kansas City 34, Oakland 20 – (6-6)
  • Philadelphia 35, New England 28 – (6-7)
  • Carolina 41, New Orleans 38 – (7-7)
  • Pittsburgh 45, Indianapolis 10 – (8-7)
  • Dallas 19, Washington 16 – (8-8)

Week 13 Observations:

  • I understand that referees don’t want to get in the way of the final play of the game and thus let the players play in those situations, but if you just called a facemask penalty on the Detroit Lions that extended the game to an untimed down, you should stay consistent and call the holding and block in the back penalties on the Green Bay Packers offensive line during the “hail mary” throw. Maybe they were ticky-tacky calls but so was the facemask call.
  • Was it a fluky win that required everything to go right? Yes but I still give a lot of credit to the Philadelphia Eagles after a two-week span that looked like they had given up. Also, I can’t help but feel that what happened to Arizona last season is happening to New England this season. Patriots fans are literally putting all of their faith on players returning for the playoffs. News flash: it may take awhile for those players to get re-acclimated so even if they do come back they won’t be like their old-selves.
  • It’s weird how the media defines a team as “hot”. Two teams that are considered the hottest teams are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks. The reason they are considered hot is because they are on long winning streaks, with Seattle winning three in a row and Kansas City winning six in a row. However, by that definition the Arizona Cardinals, winners of six in a row, should also be considered a hot team and the Carolina Panthers, who have won 12 in a row, should be considered the hottest team. Maybe a “hot” team is a designation for a good team playing great lately while the Cardinals and Panthers are great teams who have just won a bunch in a row? I don’t know the answer but that’s just my best assumption.
  • We have put up with division-winners making the playoffs despite not having winning records because the argument has been that it doesn’t happen very often. Well it’s going to happen for the fourth time in the last six seasons (2010 Seahawks, 2011 Broncos, 2014 Panthers, and the 2015 NFC East Winner as well as possibly the 2015 AFC South Winner). That list doesn’t even include the 2013 Packers who won their division at 8-7-1. This seems more like a problem than a coincidence and should be looked at by the NFL during this offseason.

Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals

Last Meeting: L 21-14 @ Minnesota (10/21/12)

Due to the fact that the Minnesota Vikings were just obliterated by the Seattle Seahawks, there are mixed opinions on how that will affect the team when the Arizona Cardinals host them Thursday night.

One side of the argument is that the Vikings will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and will throw everything they have at the Cardinals to prove that they really are contenders this season. Crazy things always tend to happen on Thursday night (see the Hail Mary in Detroit last week) so this may be an instance where the Vikings just want this one more and so they will pull out the win.

The other side of that argument is that the Vikings were exposed against the Seahawks as a “good but not great” team that benefited from an easy schedule and can be easily shut down if you can contain Adrian Peterson and force Teddy Bridgewater to throw. The Cardinals will see that the Seahawks are rounding into playoff form and will want to clinch the division as soon as possible to prevent Seattle from making a last-second push. With the wounds of Sunday’s game still fresh, the Vikings will fall behind early against the Cardinals and will give up, clinching Arizona its second straight playoff berth.

As you might expect from me, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I do think this is a “kitchen sink” game for the Vikings as they have a lot to prove after being blown out their last two home games. Cardinals fans know how the Vikings feel as Arizona has been in this position before,  trying to recover from a Seattle beatdown. That being said, Cardinals fans also know how a huge loss like the one Minnesota had last week can affect a team. The Vikings will give it their all but if at any point during the game the Cardinals have a two-score lead, the Vikings will start to panic and things will fall apart again for Minnesota. As long as Arizona gets off to a quick start they should win this one, but the longer they let Minnesota hang around the better chance the Vikings have of pulling off the upset.

Prediction: Arizona 31, Minnesota 20

My Week 14 NFL Predictions:

  • Carolina 27, Atlanta 16
  • Buffalo 30, Philadelphia 27
  • Chicago 23, Washington 17
  • Pittsburgh 35, Cincinnati 31
  • San Francisco 20, Cleveland 6
  • Detroit 28, St. Louis 10
  • New York Jets 27, Tennessee 24
  • Indianapolis 29, Jacksonville 26
  • Kansas City 38, San Diego 14
  • Tampa Bay 31, New Orleans 24
  • Seattle 28, Baltimore 17
  • Denver 24, Oakland 20
  • Green Bay 23, Dallas 18
  • New England 28, Houston 23
  • New York Giants 24, Miami 17

Week 13 Record: 8-8
Season Record: 118-74 (.615)
Perfect Score Predictions: 2
 

All In The Cards: A Matchup Of Different Emotions (Week 13)

Emotions will run high in St. Louis this week as both the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals get set for a must-win game. However, the reason for needing this win is different for both teams based on their emotions heading into this weekend. This week I’ll go over those different emotions and explain why this battle between a playoff team and a non-playoff team will end up a lot closer than you might think. I hope you enjoy and if you do make sure to follow me on Twitter @QTipsforsports or just search the hashtag #Allinthecards for in-game thoughts and analysis. Without further ado, let’s dissect the emotions that will influence this divisional battle:

Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams

Last Meeting: L 24-22 vs. St. Louis (10/4/2015)

After barely getting past the San Francisco 49ers last week, I can understand some people’s hesitation about picking the Cardinals to beat the Rams. I can also understand the viewpoint of those who think the Cards will roll because the Rams look like they have given up. The truth is somewhere in the middle, as I expect a close Arizona win.

The reason the game will be close isn’t because the Cardinals are going to underestimate their opponent like they did with the 49ers or because the Rams only try against the NFC West. While both have the potential to be underlying factors, the main focus for both teams will be simpler emotions: desperation for the Rams and anger for the Cardinals.

It’s hard to believe that this is already Jeff Fisher’s fourth season with the Rams. Despite failing to reach .500 each of his first three seasons, Fisher’s job was never in jeopardy as the franchise and the fanbase accepted the rebuilding process and knew that soon the Rams would finish above .500 for the first time since 2003 and would then proceed to retake control of the NFC West. With one more loss (the Rams are currently 4-7), that streak of 11 seasons without a winning record will extend to 12. You can only sell hope to a fanbase for so long without showing results and right now the Rams are not showing results.

The Rams have proven to be thorn in every NFC West team’s side as they are currently 3-0 against the division. However, even if they sweep the division, 7-9 won’t get the Rams anywhere (this isn’t the 2010 NFC West were 7-9 earns you a division title) unless they can win games out of division against teams that they don’t know like the back of their hand.

With everything crumbling around them, the one thing they can hang their hat on (being undefeated against the NFC West) is on the line as a loss to the Cardinals would tear down the last remaining positive for this team and force the franchise to face the fact that it isn’t improving.

With all that being said, the Cardinals want this win just as much. Arizona’s loss to St. Louis during week four not only marks the Cards’ only loss in the division but also their only home loss. If the Cardinals had made one less mistake (Arizona committed three turnovers, one of which was an opening kickoff fumble that gave the Rams right from the start), a win this week would wrap up the division and the constant fear that the Seahawks will catch up would be gone.

However, this anger isn’t just from one game. There’s also the fact that last season not one but two Cardinals’ quarterbacks saw their seasons end against the Rams. While you can’t really blame the Rams for causing the injuries (especially Carson Palmer’s since it was a non-contact injury), the Cardinals still feel an emotional grudge against the Rams for being the opponent when their championship chances last season vanished.

With both teams showing such emotion, I expect a close game. However, I think that with both teams giving their all to win this game that the better team will triumph. The Cardinals are undoubtedly the better team.

Prediction: Arizona 26, St. Louis 20

How I Did With My Thursday Night Pick:

  • Predicted Result: Green Bay 23, Detroit 21
  • Actual Result: Green Bay 27, Detroit 23

 My Week 13 NFL predictions:

  • Tampa Bay 27, Atlanta 20
  • Houston 17, Buffalo 12
  • Chicago 23, San Francisco 13
  • Cincinnati 35, Cleveland 17
  • Jacksonville 21, Tennessee 20
  • Baltimore 20, Miami 17
  • Minnesota 26, Seattle 24
  • New York Giants 30, New York Jets 23
  • Denver 27, San Diego 17
  • Kansas City 28, Oakland 23
  • New England 38, Philadelphia 10
  • Carolina 30, New Orleans 14
  • Pittsburgh 34, Indianapolis 33
  • Washington 27, Dallas 16

 
Week 12 Record: 10-6
Week 13 Record: 1-0
Season Record: 111-66 (.627)
Perfect Score Predictions: 2