The Arizona Cardinals are set to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Week 11 matchup on Sunday. Arizona is 5-4 on the season, and is surprisingly riding a two-game winning streak following their Week 10 victory over the Houston Texans. Jacksonville was riding an eight-game losing skid heading into their Week 10 matchup, but picked up its first win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Both teams have obviously struggled mightily this year, but it's the Cardinals that hold the edge on paper. They hold the advantage in most statistical categories, and play in the toughest division in football. Jacksonville does have some talented players on their team, but they've failed to put it all together to this point.
Let's take a closer look at both teams below.
Meet the Jaguars
Jacksonville feels good about their newest head coach, Gus Bradley, even if they're 1-8 on the season. Bradley is a defensive specialist, and he has portions of the Jags defense performing to expectations. They have the No. 13 pass defense in the NFL, allowing 235.9 yards per game. Unfortunately, that's coupled with the No. 32 rushing defense, allowing 153.0 rushing yards per game.
Arizona hasn't been a team that enjoys too many stat advantages over other teams, so the Jaguars don't have to worry about those stats too much. Arizona has the No. 24 rushing offense in the league at 93.6 yards per game on average, but the No. 19 pass offense. Smart money is on the Jaguars allowing few yards through the air, but if the Cardinals have a big game running, it could be bad news.
Meet the Cardinals
Arizona's running game could be looking better and better as we go through the season. Rashard Mendenhall was the starter to begin the season, but he's been below average, carrying 105 times for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Andre Ellington has been another thing entirely, though. He's carried 54 times for 388 yards and two touchdowns.
Ellington has a per-carry average of 7.2 yards, but the Cardinals have been hesitant to put the ball in his hands more than 10 times per game. If they let him loose, he could really gouge the Jaguars for big yardage. Carson Palmer has been so-so this season, with 15 interceptions against his 12 touchdowns. Clearly, letting Ellington run free is the biggest thing for the Cardinals this week.
Local Takes: Jaguars
Presumably, they'll have the opportunity to make more plays, as Gratz undoubtedly solidified his place in the starting lineup with his performance against the Titans. And they may see those opportunities against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11, as Carson Palmer is second in the NFL in interceptions with 15.
Local Takes: Cardinals
Shaun Church of Revenge of the Birds thinks the play action could be huge for the Cardinals on Sunday:
As it is, the Jags are last in the league, allowing an overall 103.4 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. But the play-action numbers are just silly bad. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 65.4 percent of play-action passes with 10 touchdowns and only one interception for a 129.29 passer rating.
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All six of SB Nation's NFL experts think the Cardinals will win on Sunday. For the rest of the Week 11 picks, go here.
The Cardinals opened up as 6.5-point favorites for the matchup, despite being on the road. That line widened in their favor throughout the week, with some sites having them favored by eight points and one favoring them by a whopping 10 points, according to OddsShark.
The Jaguars will take on the Houston Texans on Nov. 24. The Cardinals will take on the Indianapolis Colts on the same day.