TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 15, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: LP Field
Weather: High 36, Low 18
Line: Arizona (-2.5)
Not many people saw the kind of rebound to the season that the Arizona Cardinals and Carson Palmer have had for over a month now. It looks like this team is a serious contender with an 8-5 record — just one game out of the wild card in the NFC. Arizona looks like a completely different team than it was in the beginning of the year and it can be attributed to Palmer’s sudden success, passing for 3,458 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year. Michael Floyd has taken advantage of the sudden turnaround, catching 56 passes for 886 yards and four touchdowns while Larry Fitzgerald has 10 touchdowns on 67 catches for 774 yards. Andre Ellington is emerging as the most talented running back on the roster, rushing for 487 yards and three touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry.
On the other side of the field, it looks like the Tennessee Titans‘ playoff hopes have been dashed after losing two consecutive games and dropping to 5-8 on the year. Tennessee lost its starting quarterback Jake Locker earlier in the year, got him back and then lost him once again for the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been filling in, passing for 1,705 yards and nine touchdowns in his absence. Kendall Wright has emerged as the team’s top target in his second season in the league, catching 73 passes for 857 yards and two scores. Chris Johnson has also perked up in the run game after a horrid start to the year, rushing for 820 yards and five touchdowns on 3.8 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Titans are a middle-of-the-pack type of squad. Tennessee ranks 17th in points allowed and 20th in rushing yards allowed, but 14th in total yards and a solid 11th in passing yards allowed per game. Arizona, like all resurgent teams, has been stellar on defense this season, ranking seventh in points allowed, fifth in total yards allowed and third in rushing yards allowed per game.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 27, Titans 17
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.