Indianapolis Colts vs Arizona Cardinals Previews and Picks 12/25/2021

by James Q

Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021

Indianapolis Colts vs Arizona Cardinals Previews and Picks 12/25/2021

Game Time:  8:15 PM ET, Saturday, December 25th, 2021
Venue: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Where to Watch:  NFLN  (NFL Network)


Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

FanDuel: point spread: Cards -1.5: O/U 49.5 points
BetMGM: Cards -1; O/U 49 points
Caesars: PK; O/U 49 points

Season Record

Colts: 8-6 (AFC South)
Cardinals: 10-4 (NFC West)

The Colts did not start the season well.  Quarterback Carson Wentz struggled mightily and got nicked up a bit.  They seemed out of it entirely by week 4 of the season.  In week five the final nail was put in the coffin when the Colts lost to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens 31-25 in overtime. Then the magic started!  The Colts have won 7 of their last nine matchups.  They mowed down the opponents by finding a great balance between the running game of RB Jonathan Taylor and the passing game of Carson Wentz… with a real emphasis on the running game.  If the magic stops here so do the Colts… 8 wins won’t get a NFL Playoff spot, but two more wins over their last 3 games would land them at 10-7… which should get it done.

The Cardinals have been great this season!  They got out to first place in the NFC West early and kept rising.  Young quarterback Kyler Murray really shined… not just because of scrambling either.  Turns out he is a solid passing quarterback.  Then Kyler got gurt and backup Colt McCoy had to take over for 3 games… The Cards went 2-1 in those games!  It all seemed like they couldn’t be stopped.  Then they lost the all-important rematch with the Los Angeles Rams, Kyler didn’t look exactly right in that game.  Kyler got hit hard, he got intercepted, he got sacked multiple times including the Final play of the game… giving the Rams a 30-23 win.  Yet the Rams are a great team… and you can’t win them all.  A week later the Arizona Cardinals lost star WR DeAndre Hopkins during game prep for the lowly Detroit Lions… A day later the Cards lost to the lowly Detroit Lions 30-12.  They are now missing a lot of players to the injury list and have several more dinged up and listed as questionable and/or probable.  This could be a collapse similar to the last two seasons of Kyler and Kliff Kingsbury squads.  The Cardinals need this game as much as the Colts… don’t let the records fool you.

Matt is on a PERFECT 5-0 NFL run and he opens Week 16 with a BIG Winner! He is on a 23-14 NFL Run and going back, he is on a 32-18 NFL RAMPAGE! Fargo is a SWEET 21-11 with his Primetime Punishers while going 675-575 +$37,583 long-term and extends it here with another Winner! Get Matt Fargo’s picks!!....  They are available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.


Indianapolis Colts vs Arizona Cardinals Preview and Analysis

The Colts are 8-6 on the season, but 9-5 ATS.  They have logged 8 Overs and 6 Unders.  They are 4-2 in road games.  
The Cardinals are 10-4 on the season, but 9-5 ATS.  They have notched 7 Overs and 7 Unders.  Oddly they are not a good home team with a mark of only 3-3 in home games.

Offensive Analysis  

The Colts are 3rd in the NFL in ppg with 28.4, 13th in ypg with 361.4.  It breaks down to 22nd in passing yardage and 2nd in rushing yardage.  Jonathan Taylor can cover up some cracks in the armor can’t he?

The Cardinals are 8th in ppg with 27.0 per, 8th in ypg with 376.4 per.  It breaks down to 8th in passing yards and 11th in rushing yards.  Sounds like a perfectly balanced team which is why it is so heartbreaking that WR DeAndre Hopkins is out and QB Kyler Murray seems to still be suffering some back pain.

Defensive Analysis

The Colts have a very average defense.  The definition of average is to be ranked 15th in defense of total yards (343.7 allowed) and 15th in defense of passing yards (234.1 allowed).  They have gotten a few wins because they are 2nd in takeaways with 30 on the season.  They get fumbles and interceptions at a very decent rate.  That has helped them earn a ranking of 9th in defending points by only allowing 21.4 per game.  Right now Kyler Murray is vulnerable to blitzes and strong pass rush… he doesn’t have DeAndre Hopkins to toss to his first look and he certainly seems to be a little gimpy on those scrambles.  The Colts should send the house.

The Cardinals are 7th on defense.  They only allow 322.8 yards per game… they are 5th in passing yards defense… but what gives the Colts the advantage is the Cards are 18th (below average) in rushing defense.. They have allowed 112.8 yards per game and they haven't faced Jonathan Taylor yet.

Indianapolis Colts vs Arizona Cardinals Prediction

Our prediction for Saturday, December 25th is… Colts 24 - Cardinals 17

Yes, the Colts will win outright.  The Cardinals are having a great season, but will struggle to get out of this funk with so many guys dinged up.  Colts RB Jonathan Taylor will run over the Cards defense while Cardinals RB James Conner is listed as Questionable for the game with an injury to his heel.  James Conner is an extremely tough man… but if he enters the game with foot/heel pain he’ll be less effective.

Don't miss our champion handicappers' Free NFL Picks and Premium Selections every day here at  Just click on Shop Picks for our Best Bets, or click on Shop Subscriptions to join for a week or a month.  And if you enjoyed this Colts/Cardinals preview, be sure to bookmark for our daily Game Previews and Predictions.

NFL Betting Trends

The Colts are 8-3 ATS in non-conference games the last 3 seasons.
The Colts are 5-1 ATS in road games this season.
The Colts are 7-3 ATS when playing with 6 days or less of rest this season.
The Cardinals are 2-4 ATS in home games this season.

Key Injuries

Colts: DT Tyquan Lewis (knee) Out ** K Rodrigo Blankenship (hip) Out ** S Julian Blackmon (Achilles) Out **  DT Antwaun Woods (calf) Out ** Four others are listed as Questionable/Probable

Cardinals: WR DeAndre Hopkins (knee) Out ** Nine guys including RB James Conner and WR Rondale Moore are listed as Questionable with a variety of ailments (ankle, heel, knee, knee, hamstring, ribs… etc etc)... This is why Caesars Sportsbook has listed this game as a PK.  Jamal Murray still has back pain and DT JJ Watt is still out for the rest of the season.


Starting Lineups

Colts:  QB Carson Wentz, RB Jonathan Taylor, WR Michael Pittman JR, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Mo Alie-Cox, TE Jack Doyle, LT Eric Fisher, LG Quenton Nelson, C Danny Pinter, RG Mark Glowinski, RT Braden Smith

Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, RB James Conner, WR Christian Kirk, WR A.J. Green, WR Antoine Wesley, TE Zach Ertz, LT D.J. Humphries, LG Justin Pugh, C Max Garcia, RG Josh Jones, RT Kelvin Beachum

Statistical Leaders

Touchdowns: Jonathan Taylor 17
Rushing Yards: Jonathan Taylor 1,518
Passing Yards: Carson Wentz 3,005
Receiving Yards: Michael Pittman Jr 889
Sacks: DeForest Buckner 6.5
Interceptions: Kenny Moore II 4

Touchdowns: James Conner 14
Rushing Yards: James Conner 700
Passing Yards: Kyler Murray 3039
Receiving Yards: Christian Kirk 812
Sacks: Markus Golden 11
Interceptions: Byron Murphy Jr 4

Weather Forecast

Cloudy.  High of 64*... wind at 4 mph.

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2024 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.