Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ross D Franklin/AP/Shutterstock (13640007eb) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins runs on the field during player introductions prior to an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Glendale, Ariz Chargers Cardinals Football, Glendale, United States – 27 Nov 2022
New England Patriots (6-6) at Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
Time/TV: 7:15 p.m. CT/ESPN
The New England Patriots head to the desert to take on the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, hoping to erase the sour taste from two straight losses. New England was not very competitive in its first matchup with division-leader Buffalo, losing 24-10 in a game that felt like a blowout. The Patriots’ offense struggled all night in that one, gaining just 242 yards and only possessing the ball around one-third of the game. Both the loss to Buffalo and the loss to Minnesota came on Thursday nights, meaning New England enters Monday night’s bout with Arizona with more rest than normal.
Despite the extra rest, New England still enters Monday night at a rest disadvantage when compared to Arizona. The Cardinals finally had a much-needed week off in Week 13. With more than two weeks to stew on its last-second loss to the Chargers, Arizona will undoubtedly be desperate to turn the tide Monday night. The Cardinals have been a disappointment this season, falling short of expectations partially due to injuries and partially due to sloppy play. They are committing the third-most penalties in the NFL, a disturbing trend that dates back to last season.
The good news for Arizona has been hard to find this season, but it will at least be a relatively healthy team on offense going into Monday’s game. The Cardinals are without Zach Ertz for the season, but a healthy Kyler Murray throwing passes to both Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and DeAndre Hopkins should be enough to produce points on offense.
New England’s offense has been an enigma this season, at times looking above average while at other times looking completely incompetent. Given Arizona’s 31st-ranked defense in points allowed per game, the Patriots would be disappointed if the offense looked similar to how it did against the Jets or Bills.
Both New England and Arizona have an uphill battle to make the playoffs this season, making Monday night’s matchup a crucial moment for both franchises. New England will stay out west against Las Vegas in Week 15, but finish its season with three straight games against teams over .500. Arizona plays only one more team with a winning record this season.
The Patriots haven’t often lost three in a row under Bill Belichick, and nobody on the planet would argue that Belichick is on the hot seat. The same cannot be said of Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who could find himself in trouble if things do not turn around quickly for Arizona.
The Cardinals are just 5-13 since starting 2021 with a 10-2 record, despite continuing to invest in offensive talent like DeAndre Hopkins and Hollywood Brown to support former top pick, Kyler Murray. At 4-8, with a manageable schedule to come, it’s time to put up or shut up in Glendale, Arizona.