Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) intercepts a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight, the Cincinnati Bengals, in a third-straight prime time matchup, will take on the Arizona Cardinals, facing off in Phoenix on Sunday Night Football.
Before the game, we had the chance to go behind enemy lines and ask Scott Allen, editor of Raising Zona, a few questions pertaining to Sunday night’s matchup under the lights.
Connor Howe: Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington and David Johnson have all teamed up to form one of the most exciting running back tandems in football. What can you tell me about this group? Who will lead the team in carries, who takes short yardage/goal line carries and who makes the most plays in the passing game? How do you seem the running backs performing this week against the Bengals’ defense?
Scott Allen: Chris Johnson has taken the lead here with the running game. After Ellington got hurt and Johnson made some dumb mistakes early on, it’s been mainly Johnson carrying the load. Ellington though has gotten some touches the past few games and had a big run for a TD against the Seahawks last week. I would say Johnson is the leader on the ground. All three can help in the passing game but Ellington is probably the best as far as that goes.
Connor: The Cardinals boast one of the best secondaries in the NFL, while the Bengals possess one of the league’s most dynamic passing attacks. Do the Cardinals have an answer for Andy Dalton and his arsenal out wide?
Scott: The Cardinals secondary is everywhere. Safety Tyrann Mathieu seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He likes to think of himself more of a corner but whatever it is he’s doing it’s working. Safety Rashad Johnson and cornerbacks Justin Bethel and Patrick Peterson have all come up huge as well. Cornerback Jerraud Powers is probably Dalton’s best bet to complete long passes down the field.
Scott: Yes. Will they? We’ll see. However the Cardinals are third in yardage defense and have given up just 92.8 rushing yards per game so far.
Connor: With both Mike Iupati and Jonathan Cooper questionable for Sunday night’s action, will the Cardinals be able to stop the Bengals’ interior pass rush? And will Bobbie Massie be able to stop Carlos Dunlap on the outside?
Scott: Again, I do believe this will be able to happen. I know Cincinnati has a very good pass rush but Seattle did too and Carson Palmer was able to avoid it for the most part. Palmer will get sacked once or twice, no doubt–but for the most part, he has a done a great job stepping up in the pocket and avoiding sacks. As far as Bobby Massie goes, your guess is as good as mine. He hasn’t played consistently well yet. So anything can happen as far as he is concerned.
Connor: This could be a revenge game for Carson Palmer, who is having an All Pro-caliber season. How do you think he’ll perform, who do you think will win and what will the final score be?
Scott: I think Palmer will play just fine. I’m not predicting any records being set or anything but he should play well enough to win. I will take Arizona 27-24.
A huge thanks to Scott for taking the time to talk with us before the game! Be sure to follow him on Twitter if you want to see what’s going on with the Texans, and check out Raising Zona for all Cardinals-related news.
And for your daily dose of Bengals news, be sure to follow Stripe Hype on Twitter. I will also be live-tweeting the game on my personal Twitter, although I may be a bit preoccupied cheering Cincinnati on from the end zone! Who Dey!