Washington Football Team vs. Cardinals preview, matchups to watch, score prediction
Washington defense vs. Cardinals offense
The matchups are a bit better on this side of the ball for Washington, but the elite players on the Cardinals squad should have them beaten. Notably, DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray will be extremely difficult for Washington to contain.
Hopkins will be the top weapon for the Cardinals on Sunday. Simply put, Washington doesn’t have the talent in the secondary to contain him. After he caught 14 passes in his debut for the Cardinals against a solid 49ers defense, Washington has to figure out a way to at least limit Hopkins.
That won’t be easy. Even if Washington consistently double teams Hopkins, the Cardinals have other weapons that can beat them. Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald both should have a chance to give Washington some trouble and if Kirk matches up with Ronald Darby, he could make some nice deep plays. That will be something to watch, though Darby could play less if Kendall Fuller is healthy.
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As for Murray, he is one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the league and he knows how to escape pressure with the best of them. His scrambling ability will test the athleticism of Washington’s linebacker corps and if Cole Holcomb, the fastest player in that group, misses the game with an injury, Murray could put up some big numbers.
Washington’s defensive line will also be key in trying to slow Murray. Obviously, the team’s pass rush is the strength of their defense and luckily, the Cardinals’ offensive line is their weakness. The Cardinals lack high-level blockers, so Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, and Daron Payne should all have a chance to pressure Murray. But the key will be bringing him down.
As for the run game, Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds are both well-rounded players, but they’ll have to do much of their damage through the air. The Washington D-Line is just that good and they shouldn’t have trouble making plays there. Expect Murray to be the leading rushing for Arizona once again.
Washington can contain the Cardinals offense. It just doesn’t seem likely that they will. Murray and Hopkins will pose too much of a challenge and Murray may be one of the few quarterbacks who can overcome a mediocre offensive line to avoid being beaten by what may be the league’s best defensive line.