Coming off what we consider an unimpressive win against the Baltimore Ravens, the Arizona Cardinals head back to the road to take on the Cleveland Browns.
At 5-2, Arizona is in the driver's seat of the NFC West and will look to improve their playoff seeding position as the season progresses. However, Sunday's tilt against the Browns shouldn't be overlooked.
Just two weeks ago, the Browns had the Denver Broncos nearly beaten but ended up dropping that contest in overtime by a field goal. Cleveland has the ability to move the ball on offense (averaging 364 yards per game) particularly through the air.
QB Josh McCown has put up big numbers in his last five games (averaging 327 yards per game passing) and the Arizona defense will need to tighten things up to limit his success on Sunday.
On defense, the Browns could certainly be exposed as they're allowing over 390 yards per game. That said, the Cardinals looked somewhat one-dimensional last week against the Ravens - outside of RB Chris Johnson's 62-yard fluke run in which he wasn't ruled down.
If that holds true this week and QB Carson Palmer has to throw more than 40 times, the Browns' chances of pulling the upset will increase dramatically.
Palmer will need to continue looking the way of speedy wideout John Brown as he's emerged over the past few games. Yes, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will still be significant parts of the Arizona offense, but in our opinion Brown should be focal point.
Browns player to watch: WR Travis Benjamin
Benjamin has quickly emerged as the Browns' top wide receiver and has already racked up 575 yards receiving on the season. More impressively is his 16.4 yards per reception which confirms his potential as a tremendous down the field target for McCown.
The Cardinals secondary is well-known for its ball-hawking abilities but they've also been apt to give up the big play. CB Patrick Peterson, S Tyrann Mathieu and company will need to keep a close on Benjamin and limit his success in the vertical passing game.
The Browns have been close to pulling an upset a few times this season but haven't been able to seal the deal.
With an early start and an easy game to overlook, this could be a spot ripe for an upset, but the Cardinals have too much firepower and will prevail on the road.
Prediction: Arizona 34 Cleveland 24