Posted on: December 23, 2022, 09:34h.
Last updated on: December 23, 2022, 01:22h.
The Arizona Cardinals can’t catch a break in the injury department, and have no choice except to start third-string quarterback Trace McSorley against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Christmas night. Colt McCoy hasn’t cleared the concussion protocol, so McSorley is the next man up on the depth chart.
McCoy was only starting in place of Kyler Murray, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football in Week 14.
The Cardinals, at 4-10, have been eliminated from postseason contention. However, they can play the role of playoff spoiler and the Grinch who stole Christmas. The Cardinals could trip up the Bucs, and make it harder for Tom Brady to secure a playoff berth.
The Bucs are currently in first place in the dismal NFC South with a 6-8 record. FiveThirtyEight projects the Bucs have a 74% chance to win the division and secure an automatic berth to the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons each have a 5-9 record, and all three teams still have a glimmer of hope to catch the Bucs. The Panthers have a 20% chance to win the NFC South, while the Falcons have a 4% chance, and the Saints are still alive with a 2% chance.
Disappointing Season for Cardinals and Kyler Murray
The Cardinals failed to live up to their preseason hype after many so-called experts picked them to win the NFC West and contend for the Super Bowl. The Cardinals were 11-6 last season, but were knocked out in the NFC wild card by the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
It was a rocky start of the season for the Cardinals after they posted a 2-4 record. The first win was an overtime victory against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2, and their other win in that span occurred against a Carolina Panthers team that was about to fire head coach Matt Rhule.
The Cardinals were 4-6 in mid-November after winning a revenge game against the Rams, and still had a chance at a wild-card berth if they finished out the season on a strong note. Instead, they lost four games in a row and were knocked out of playoff contention. To make matters worse, Murray went down with a season-ending ACL injury in Week 14, which could impact the start of next season.
Murray signed a hefty contract extension worth $230.5 million, including $160 million in guaranteed money. He will average more than $46 million a season as the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL. That’s a significant investment in a quarterback who has only one postseason game under his belt and has yet to win a playoff game.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury could become one of the first head coaches to lose his job when the season ends. Kingsbury was on thin ice all season, but could have saved his job by guiding the Cardinals to a playoff victory. At this point, it looks like the banged-up Cardinals could lose their final three games and end the season on a seven-game losing streak with a 4-13 record.
McCoy Out, McSorley Starts
In three starts this season, McCoy was 1-2. He completed 68.2% of his passes for 780 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. McCoy got hit in the head during a loss against the Denver Broncos in Week 15 and suffered a concussion. McSorley finished the game and threw for 95 yards and two interceptions in the loss.
McSorley is a former Penn State quarterback who has never started an NFL game before. He spent the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens as a backup quarterback before joining the Cardinals this season.
He’s one of those guys, I hate to use the term ‘gamer,’ but he’s got a lot of moxie, plays with a lot of confidence,” said Kingsbury. “Teammates respond to that.”
McSorley completed only 18-for-39 passes in his career for a 46.2% success rate. He passed for 356 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in mostly garbage time.
The Cards are +7.5 home dogs when they host the Bucs on Christmas evening on a Sunday Night Football national broadcast. Most of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas installed the Bus as a -7.5 favorite.
The Cardinals are 6-8 against the spread this season, but have the worst betting record in the NFL with a 3-10-1 ATS clip.