This game is a big game for both the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs. Both are on two-game losing streaks. KC is 7-5 with a whole bunch of AFC teams battling for the playoffs. Arizona, while still the NFC's top seed, has seen their cushion vanish after a 9-1 start. They need to win to stay ahead of the pack before they finish the season playing each of the other NFC West teams.
In this game, here are some matchups that matter:
Arizona's defensive front vs. Jamaal Charles
Charles is amazing. Some call him the best back in the NFL. He is averaging 5 yards per carry on the season. He is the team's bell cow. He also has 43 receptions. Arizona's defensive front has been stout. It has allowed only one 100-yard rusher this season, but it happened last week.
Can Charles have success against one of the league's top rush defenses? And if the Cardinals succeed, how else will Charles be involved?
Arizona's running backs vs. Chiefs porous run defense
KC is the worst in the league in opposing yards per carry. However, the Cardinals have been awful in the running game. That problem is made worse by the fact that Andre Ellington will not play, so it is up to Stepfan Taylor and Marion Grice. Will the Cardinals' struggles continue this week as they use backups, or can they find success on the ground as many teams have against the Chiefs.
Justin Houston and Tamba Hali vs. Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie
Houston is one of the best in the game and Hali, although with only five sacks on the season, has just barely missed another half dozen. KC has sacked opposing QBs 32 times. Massie struggles against speed and Veldheer, while he has been fantastic in pass protection, is banged up with a sprained ankle. He missed practice time this week and is not 100 percent.
Drew Stanton struggles when hit. Can the Cardinals tackles keep these elite pass rushers at bay so Stanton can make plays down the field?