The Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals are both looking for a much-needed win as they face each other in Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season. Both teams are 1-3 and have struggled to find consistency on both sides of the ball. The Bengals are coming off a 27-3 blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, while the Cardinals lost 35-16 to the San Francisco 49ers. The game will kick off at 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Bengals’ Offense Needs to Step Up
The Bengals have been one of the worst offensive teams in the league, averaging only 12.3 points per game (31st in the NFL) and failing to score a first-half offensive touchdown in any of their four games. Quarterback Joe Burrow, who threw for 34 and 35 touchdowns in his first two seasons, has been hampered by a calf injury since the preseason and has only tossed two scores in 2023. He has completed only 57.6% of his passes, well below his career average of 67.3%.
The Bengals have some weapons on offense, such as star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and running back Joe Mixon, but they have not been able to utilize them effectively. Chase has 19 catches in the last two weeks, but he has not found the end zone since Week 1. Mixon has rushed for 289 yards and two touchdowns, but he is questionable for Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. The Bengals’ offensive line has also been a major issue, allowing 15 sacks and failing to create running lanes.
The Bengals will need to improve their offensive performance against a Cardinals defense that ranks 10th in the league in points allowed per game (20.5) and has forced nine turnovers. The Cardinals have a formidable pass rush led by Chandler Jones, who has six sacks, and J.J. Watt, who has two. They also have playmakers in the secondary, such as Budda Baker, Byron Murphy Jr., and rookie Marco Wilson.
Cardinals’ Defense Needs to Slow Down Burrow and Chase
The Cardinals have been one of the best offensive teams in the league, averaging 28 points per game (seventh in the NFL) and boasting a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Kyler Murray. Murray has thrown for 1,098 yards and nine touchdowns, while also rushing for 216 yards and two scores. He has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, such as DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, and Chase Edmonds.
However, the Cardinals have also been plagued by turnovers and penalties that have stalled their drives and cost them points. Murray has thrown five interceptions and lost two fumbles, while the Cardinals have committed 32 penalties for 287 yards (both second-most in the league). The Cardinals will need to clean up their mistakes against a Bengals defense that ranks fourth in the league in points allowed per game (18) and has forced eight turnovers.
The Bengals have a solid defensive front led by Sam Hubbard, Trey Hendrickson, and D.J. Reader, who have combined for seven sacks and nine tackles for loss. They also have a talented linebacker duo in Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt, who have combined for three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The Bengals’ secondary is anchored by safety Jessie Bates III, who is one of the best in the league at his position.
Who Will Win?
The Bengals are favored by three points in the latest Bengals vs. Cardinals odds, and the over/under for total points scored is 44.5. According to a computer simulation model at SportsLine that simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, the Bengals have a 58% chance of winning and covering the spread1. The model also projects that the game will go over the total1.
The model has been very successful in predicting NFL outcomes since its inception, as it is up well over $7,000 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks1. It is also on a 22-10 roll on top-rated NFL picks since Week 7 of last season1. The model also ranked in the top 10 on NFLPickWatch four of the past six years on straight-up NFL picks1.
However, other sources have different opinions on the game. For instance, another computer simulation model at SportsLine that uses advanced analytics and player grades to predict NFL outcomes gives the Cardinals a slight edge over the Bengals2. The model projects that Murray will outplay Burrow and lead the Cardinals to a narrow victory2.
Moreover, some experts have picked the Cardinals to upset the Bengals on the road. For example, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports predicts that Murray will make some big plays with his legs and arm, while the Cardinals’ defense will pressure Burrow and force some turnovers3. He expects the Cardinals to win 27-233.
Therefore, the game could be a close and exciting one, as both teams have their strengths and weaknesses. The Bengals will try to exploit the Cardinals’ mistakes and rely on their defense, while the Cardinals will try to unleash their offense and contain the Bengals’ playmakers. The game could come down to the wire, as both teams are desperate for a win.