- Kyler Murray has rushed for just 61 yards over the past three games combined. He hit or exceeded that number in seven of the first nine games this season.
After a huge win in Seattle, the Giants return home leading the NFC East on a tiebreaker over Washington, who they beat both times the two met. That has New York in the driver’s seat and controlling their own playoff destiny, but the question will be the same as it’s been all season — whether this is a good enough team to capitalize.
Arizona meanwhile heads on the road looking like a sinking ship, as they’ve lost three straight and four of five since their Week 8 bye. Kyler Murray has seemingly regressed, especially since a shoulder injury suffered early in the Week 11 loss in Seattle. Interestingly, while Murray’s passing numbers have dipped — his three-game average of 5.3 yards per attempt is well below his season number of 7.0 — it’s his rushing that is more alarming. Theoretically, a shoulder injury wouldn’t prevent Murray from using his legs, but he’s rushed just five times in each of the past three games, all of which tied a season low in attempts. His 61 total rushing yards over that span are a number he hit or exceeded in seven of the Cardinals’ first nine games this year.
But this feels like a pretty good get right spot for Murray. There’s not a clear explanation for his lack of rushing, and each week removed from his shoulder injury you’d expect him to get a bit healthier. The numbers say he’s not right, and the recent trends are negative, but that gets us a good number here. I’m inclined to believe the much larger sample earlier in the season as indicative of plenty of rebound potential for this Arizona offense.
The Giants meanwhile are probably a bit overrated after a win in Seattle that had more to do with a deterioration of Seattle’s offensive line than anything. The Giants got to Russell Wilson for five sacks, and they were able to squeak out a low-scoring win despite Colt McCoy throwing just 22 times for 105 yards. New York will welcome back starting quarterback Daniel Jones this week, and they’ve been running the ball well. But the hamstring injury Jones is returning from should sap him of some mobility, which isn't great news for the Giants. This is still a well below average offense, and the five sacks they got last week were a season high for their defense.
The bottom line is the Giants are just not a very good football team. One thing they do well is defend against the run, and it may be more necessary for Murray to succeed through the air. Skepticism of his ability to do that could be leading to the close spread, but while it’s always easy to emphasize recent trends, I think we’ll see some good games from Murray again this season, and I think that could start as early as this week. Even if Murray isn't playing to his fullest potential, I'd like the Cardinals to win this game, so I'm on them to cover the 2.5.
NFL Expert Picks
Cardinals -2.5 @ -110
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Week 14 ends with that huge divisional clash between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football that we're all waiting for! In between we have a full slate of games, with a number of divisional games and big matchups. Elsewhere we're set to see Jalen Hurts first start for the Philadelphia Eagles who have announced him as the starter this week.
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