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ARI/NE Monday Night Football Preview: PFF Comps and Media Predictions

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots has significance for both teams.

For the Cardinals, with the Seahawks and Giants both losing yesterday, their slim NFC playoff hopes are still alive, particularly if they can start a winning streak. Should the Cardinals falter in this game, the noise surrounding Kliff Kingsbury’s and Kyler Murray’s NFL history of late season struggles will keep providing resounding echoes throughout the Grand Canyons of the NFL universe.

For the Patriots, with the Jets losing yesterday, with a win tonight, having tiebreakers in their favor, they could leapfrog the Jets (7-6) and Chargers (7-6) for a current hold of the #7 seed in the AFC.

Both the Cardinals and the Patriots were wild cards in the playoffs last season. And both Kyler Murray and Mac Jones starred in the Pro Bowl.

Therefore, heading into tonight’s game, I though it might be interesting for us to take a look at how the teams stack up in terms of the players’ 2022 PFF grades.

Arizona; New England Personnel


  • QB: Kyler Murray (67.2); Mac Jones (59.1)
  • RB1: James Conner (65.0); Rhamondre Stevenson (85.2)
  • RB2: Keaontay Ingram (53.5); Pierre Strong (68.6) *Note: Eno Benjamin was 72.4 for ARI
  • TE1: Maxx Williams (54.8); Hunter Henry (56.4)
  • TE2: Trey McBride (35.6); Jonnu Smith (54.7)
  • W1: DeAndre Hopkins (78.8); DeVante Parker (70.1)
  • WR2: Marquise Brown (75.3); Nelson Agholor (62.2)
  • WR3: Greg Dortch (62.0); Kendrick Bourne (56.5) *Note: Marcus Jones with 3 snaps: 91.0
  • LT: Josh Jones (71.7); Trent Brown (68.1)
  • LG: Lecitus Smith (44.6); Cole Strange (50.0)
  • C: Billy Price (47.9); David Andrews (70.7)
  • RG: Max Garcia (50.3); Mike Onwenu (81.6)
  • RT: Kelvin Beachum (71.4); Conor McDermott (65.2)

Totals: ARI-6; NE-7


  • DE: JJ Watt (62.7); Deatrich Wise (72.9)
  • NT: Leki Fotu (34.3); Davon Godchaux (48.6)
  • DE: Zach Allen (71.7); Lawrence Guy (55.1)
  • OLB: Markus Golden (66.5); Matthew Judon (74.4)
  • MLB: Zaven Collins (59.6); Ja’Whaun Bentley (72.8)
  • WILB: Ben Niemann (66.9); Jahlani Tavai (71.3)
  • OLB: Cameron Thomas (68.4); Josh Uche (85.8)
  • CB: Antonio Hamilton (70.0): Jonathan Jones (69.2)
  • SS: Budda Baker (70.8); Kyle Dugger (72.8)
  • FS: Jalen Thompson (63.3); Devin McCourtey (70.6)
  • CB: Marco. Wilson (51.4); Jack Jones (72.9)
  • NB: Isaiah Simmons (64.4); Myles Bryant (60.9)

Totals: ARI-3; NE-9

Special Teams:

  • P: Andy Lee (63.2); Michael Palardy (52.9)
  • K: Matt Prater (70.7); Nick Folk (64.3)
  • LS: Aaron Brewer (60.6); Joe Cardone (43.0)
  • KR: Greg Dortch (66.3); Marcus Jones (67.2)

Totals: ARI-3; NE-1

Personnel Totals: ARI-12; NE-17

Team Rankings:

  • Overall: ARI-29th; NE: 20th
  • Offense: ARI-30th; NE-21st
  • Passing: ARI: 20th; NE-21st
  • Pass Blocking: ARI-13th; NE-10th
  • Receiving: ARI-19th; NE-17th
  • Run Game: ARI-26th; NE-25th
  • Run Blocking: ARI-31st; NE-25th
  • Defense: ARI-25th; NE-12th
  • Run Defense: ARI-28th; NE-12th
  • Tacking: ARI-20th; NE-1st
  • Pass Defense: ARI-20th; NE-14th
  • Pass Coverage: ARI-21st; NE-12th
  • Special Teams: ARI-3rd; NE-18th

Team Totals: ARI-2; NE-11

  • ARI home record: 1-6
  • NE away record: : 3-3
  • ARI strength of schedule: 29-35 (0.453) 23rd
  • NE strength of schedule: 36-28 (0.536) 8th


  • From Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic:

It’s just a hunch, really, but something tells me the Cardinals will pull this one out in some sort of surprising fashion. It might not even be as close as what I’m predicting, either. It all depends on how Arizona starts the game and produces in the first quarter. If it’s looking bleak early, it probably will finish that way.

Pick: Cardinals 20, Patriots 17

  • From Chad Finn of The Boston Globe:

“Prediction, or where have you gone, Neil Lomax?”

“Two seasons ago during the Cam Newton Interlude, the 5-6 Patriots beat the 6-5 Cardinals in Week 12, 20-17. James White scored a couple of touchdowns. Ja’Whaun Bentley made 14 tackles and backboned a Patriots’ goal-line stand just before halftime, and Nick Folk drilled a winning 50 yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

What else? Murray threw for only 170 yards and an interception, and rarely attempted to run, taking off 5 times for 31 yards. Josh Uche, whose true breakthrough has come in the last 5 games (7 sacks) actually made a key play in that game, holding the edge on Murray on one play and chasing him out of bounds.

I bring this up because I can see this game going in a very similar way. The Patriots will shut down the easily frustrated Murray, save for a successful shot down field or two to DeAndre Hopkins and/or Hollywood Brown. Stevenson will find the end zone a couple of times as White did back then, Belichick will again outwit his 2003 draft pick Kingsbury, and yes, Folk will have to win this thing. The Patriots will keep their streak of winning must-wins against fellow mediocrities alive.”

Pick: Patriots 20 Cardinals 17

Series All-Time: 8-7 Patriots (Pats have won 7 of the last 8).

Speaking of Neil Lomax, this is how I hope the game goes for the Cardinals tonight as it did in this thoroughly enjoyable 27-20 Cardinals win in 1981:

How does a short pass turned into a beautiful YAC (yards after catch) game-winning TD from Kyler Murray to Greg Dortch sound to you?

Current Spread: NE (-1.5) over ARI

What do you make of the number of Cardinals’ fans on social media expressing their hope that the team loses tonight in order to fall into the top 5 draft order?