The Arizona Cardinals will host the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in the second of three preseason games for both squads. Let’s take a gander at how this Friday evening matchup in the desert might look.
Cardinals vs Chiefs: What you need to know
- The Cardinals host Kansas City at State Farm Stadium in Arizona on Aug. 20 at 8:00 PM EST on ESPN.
- Sportsnaut forecasts the Kansas City Chiefs will beat the Arizona Cardinals, 31-24.
- Odds: The Chiefs are 1.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 39.
Kyler Murray vs Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes played all of one possession in Kansas City’s preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers. It’s something that head coach Andy Reid has done in the past. That is to say, playing his starters a bit in exhibition openers.
As for Kyler Murray, he joined the rest of Arizona’s first-team offense in the sideline during what was a 19-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The expectation here is that he will play against Kansas City. It was a surprise to see the third-year signal caller sit in the opener.
- Kansas City Chiefs offense looking to get on track: In Mahomes’ only possession against San Francisco, he completed 1-of-2 passes for four yards. Knowing Reid, the former NFL MVP will play a lot more in this game before ultimately sitting out the preseason finale. It will be interesting to see how Kansas City’s first-team offense looks against Cardinals starters.
- Shiny new weapons for Kyler Murray: While head coach Kliff Kingsbury shocked people by sitting Murray last week, the quarterback should see extensive action in Week 2 of the preseason. It’s going to be important for Murray — entering a huge season in his development — to get reps with Arizona’s first-team offense.
Arizona Cardinals receivers vs Kansas City Chiefs secondary
We expect to see DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green on the field in this preseason matchup. How long they play remains to be seen. With that said, we’re more intrigued to see how young pass-catcher Rondale Moore looks after catching 3-of-4 targets in his preseason debut.
- Arizona Cardinals wide receivers seeing red: In addition to Hopkins, Green and Moore, there’s a ton of competition for roster spots in Arizona. In particular, KeeSean Johnson and Andre Baccellia getting extensive play in the preseason opener. Will they be given an opportunity with Murray tossing the rock come Friday evening?
- Cornerback questions in Kansas City: Rashad Fenton and the recently acquired Mike Hughes saw a ton of action in the Chiefs’ preseason opener. This is the clearest indication yet that there remains some major question marks at cornerback in Kansas City. We’re intrigued to see how snaps are allocated by Reid and Co. in this one, especially given Arizona’s depth at wide receiver.
Cardinals vs Chiefs: The running backs
Last year’s first-round pick, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, was pretty decent for Kansas City last week. The stud running back tallied 21 yards on five touches. Meanwhile, Eno Benjamin and Chris Streveler combined for 105 yards on 15 rushes with Arizona’s top-two running backs inactive.
- Who will share time with CEH in Kansas City? This is a major question mark. If the first preseason game was an indication, free-agent signing Jerick McKinnon might be RB2. He gained 40 total yards on five touches against his former 49ers team.
- Kyler Murray needs help in the backfield: We fully expect to see starting running back Chase Edmonds in this game. Getting him first-team reps with Murray has to be a major goal. As for free-agent signing James Conner, the former Pro Bowler was just activated from the COVID list after missing the opener. He could play in this one.
Bottom line: This Cardinals vs Chiefs matchup should be the best indicator of where each team stands heading into Week 1 of the regular season. In particular, Arizona’s starters must prove that the gap between them and top-end Super Bowl contenders is not too wide.