The Cardinals are on primetime Sunday Night Football against the 8-1 Cincinnati Bengals who are coming off of a short week heartbreaker. Our staff has made their predictions, but in this article, we are going to ask Madden for the winner of the matchup between two of the top NFL teams.
All-Pro, 5-minute quarters, 10-second accelerated clock, and a night game in the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Final Score: 10-17 Cardinals
Madden could not have scripted it any better. A scoreless first quarter, followed by a field goal a piece by each team to close the half. Both teams got in the end zone during the third and the Cardinals were able to put up the game-winning touchdown in the 4th with a one-yard run by Chris Johnson. As the Bengals attempted to storm their comeback, with 1:30 left to play, Dalton completes a pass to Tyler Eifert who gets to the Arizona 16-yard line, and (go-figure) fumbles. A late game choke and another late-game loss for the Bengals according to Madden 16.
It was not the greatest day for either running back. Andre Ellington led the Cards with 13 carries for 45 yards. Chris Johnson had 12 rushes for 23 yards and the go-ahead touchdown for the Cards. As for the Bengals, Jeremy Hill led the team on the ground with 11 touches for 40 yards. Giovani Bernard had 6 carries for 18 total yards. I believe this is why the 1st quarter lacked points on the board as both teams attempted to establish the run with very little luck.
Both teams were pretty equal in the air as well, slightly better than their running backs though. Andy Dalton passed for 173 yards, going 17-29 with a touchdown and an interception. He threw for a long of 20 yards to set up the touchdown on the next play. Carson Palmer threw for 210 yards, 15 for 28, one touchdown and one interception. Carson Palmer also threw a long ball of 30 yards, unfortunately, this drive ended in a punt rather than a TD.
If you don't have Mohamed Sanu on your fantasy team, Madden is clearly suggesting you pick him up off the waiver wire. Sanu led the Bengals with 8 receptions for 93 yards and the team's lone touchdown. Tyler Eifert was next with 7 receptions for 45 yards. A.J Green had 2 grabs for 8 yards - not a good day to be a Green owner. Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals with 7 receptions for 97 yards. John Brown had 6 receptions for 92 yards (one being Carson's 30-yard pass). Michael Floyd had 2 grabs for 21 yards - one being the Cards lone receiving touchdown in the third quarter.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cards dominated. Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu, and Kevin Minter all led the Cards in tackles with 5 apiece. Justin Bethel had 4, Sean Weatherspoon and Jerraud Powers had 3 each. Frostee Rucker was the only player that was able to bring down Andy Dalton getting the teams lone sack. Powers had the team's lone interception as well. Weatherspoon, Alex Okafor, and Honey Badger all had 1 pass deflection. Finally, who better than Patrick Peterson to force the game-winning fumble and get the recovery? The Bengals were pretty evenly spread when it came to tackles with 12 players racking up 2 or 3 tackles each. Reggie Nelson had the one interception off of Palmer. Look on the bright side of the pick; the Bengals were not able to sack Carson once!
Both kickers, Chandler Catanzaro and Mike Nugent were perfect on extra points and 1 for 1 from 40 and 21 yards respectively.
There you have it! Madden predicts a storybook victory and what a way for the Bengals to lose twice in a row in fumble fashion. If Madden says the Cardinals can make it happen, then we put our full confidence in the Cards, but hopefully they won't make it as much of a nail-biter as this one was.