Chargers-Arizona Cardinals matchups, how to watch and prediction

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray runs with the ball against Seahawks safety Ryan Neal on Nov. 6, 2022.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray runs against Seattle Seahawks safety Ryan Neal on Nov. 6. Murray missed the last two games because of a hamstring injury but is set to face the Chargers on Sunday.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Breaking down how the Chargers (5-5) and the Arizona Cardinals (4-7) match up heading into their game at 1:05 p.m. PST on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The game will be shown on CBS (Ch. 2) and streamed on NFL+.


When Chargers have the ball

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) reacts after being sacked by Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna (51) on Sunday.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) reacts after being sacked by Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna (51) on Sunday night. The Chargers lost 30-27.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Only two teams have blitzed more often this season than Arizona, which ranks sixth in quarterback pressures but tied for 25th in sacks.


Last weekend against Kansas City, Justin Herbert was sacked a career-worst five times. Having Keenan Allen back and fully healthy should help Herbert avoid the charging Cardinals. Arizona’s scheme also could mean more use of the quick passing game, which would bring running back Austin Ekeler more into the plan.

“They’re a very diverse defense,” Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. “They give you a ton of different looks.”

The Chargers were happy to get Keenan Allen back last week and see production from him. They hope to get a little more from him against the Arizona Cardinals.

Nov. 24, 2022

Something to watch for will be the Chargers’ performance after halftime. They have produced 67% of their points in the first two quarters and have just one touchdown in their last 16 second-half possessions. The Chargers have outscored their opponents six times in the first half but only twice in the second.

The Cardinals’ defense, unlike the Chargers’ offense, has been remarkably consistent — if not terribly effective — regarding points, surrendering 147 in the first two quarters and 149 after halftime. The only team giving up more points per game is Detroit.

With wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle) out, Herbert figures to continue to look for Joshua Palmer, who has topped 100 yards in two of the last three games.


When Cardinals have the ball

Cardinals running back James Conner tries to fend off 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw on Nov. 21, 2022.
Cardinals running back James Conner tries to fend off 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw during Arizona’s 38-10 loss Monday night in Mexico City.
(Fernando Llano / Associated Press)

Arizona will welcome back quarterback Kyler Murray, who missed the last two games — a win over the Rams and a loss to San Francisco — because of a hamstring injury.

“A very dangerous player, a very productive player,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “He has really transformed that offense there since he came into the league.”

When Staley was the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2020, his unit limited Murray to 29 of 50 pass attempts for 260 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception in two games. The Rams sacked Murray four times, and he rushed seven times for only 18 yards. Murray missed a good portion of one of those games because of an ankle injury.

NFL readers Q&A: Wasn’t Rams line already bad before all the injuries? Could head coach Brandon Staley be on way out if Chargers don’t make NFL playoffs again?

Nov. 24, 2022

The Cardinals are averaging only 4.81 yards per play, 30th in the NFL. The Chargers’ defense, similarly, has been bad in average yards per play, giving up 6.02, which is 31st. Since Kliff Kingsbury took over as head coach in 2019, Arizona has been one of the top rushing teams, led this year by Murray and James Conner.


The Chargers’ last four opponents have run for at least 157 yards. Just two teams — Houston and Detroit — have been worse at stopping the run in 2022.


When they kick

The Chargers signed rookie Cameron Dicker to the roster Tuesday and put Dustin Hopkins (hamstring) on injured reserve. Dicker is seven of seven on field goals and six of six on extra points in three games. The Chargers have made 39 consecutive kicks, with one miss — a 49-yard field goal try by Hopkins in Week 1 — this season.

Arizona’s Matt Prater is nine of nine on field goals and 10 of 10 on extra points.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners in NFL Week 12. The Eagles will win while the Cowboys will take down rival Giants.

Nov. 24, 2022

Jeff Miller’s prediction: This is a game the Chargers should win, something stated often in this space in recent years with wildly uneven results. This time, the expected does happen.