The Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings square off in a huge game on Thursday night. Both of these NFC teams are primed to make the playoffs, but they want to win their respective divisions.

Let's preview the game and pick a winner.

Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

They don't get a lot of national exposure, but the Cardinals have looked fantastic this year. Carson Palmer is the top choice for Comeback Player of the Year, and rightfully so. Palmer has an outstanding 29 touchdowns to just nine interceptions this season. The Cardinals are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind only the Carolina Panthers, and they know this is a big game.

Larry Fitzgerald is still playing at an elite level as he has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark yet again. The Cardinals offense ranks first in the league in points and yards this season, but running back Chris Johnson is out for the remainder of the regular season. The Vikings defense is no joke, and Palmer will have to be on point Thursday night.

Defensively the Cardinals have looked great as well. The Cardinals have allowed just 16 total points the last two weeks, and now rank fourth overall in yards allowed. The key for the Cardinals defense this week will obviously be stopping Adrian Peterson.

The Cardinals play the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

Minnesota Vikings (8-4)

The Vikings were absolutely embarrassed last week against the Seattle Seahawks, 38-7. Losers of two of their last three games, the Vikings have to get back on track if they want to win the NFC North over the Green Bay Packers.

Vikings fans were frustrated last week because Peterson only got eight carries, but that's what happens when you're down by 28 points in the second half. Teddy Bridgewater has to step up to the next level if these Vikings are going to beat the Cardinals. Bridgewater has just eight touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, and that's not going to cut it. The Cardinals will more than likely stack the box and force Bridgewater to make plays with his arm.

The Vikings have the No. 4 ranked defense as far as points allowed, but they may have been exposed against the Seahawks and Russell Wilson last week. Wilson was able to connect on multiple deep balls in Minnesota, and that's a bad sign because Palmer throws one of the best long balls in the NFL.

The Vikings play the Chicago Bears next week.


The Cardinals and Vikings will play each other on Thursday night at 8:25 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. The game will be played at the University Phoenix stadium at Glendale, Arizona. You can watch a live game stream here.


The Vikings need this win a lot more than the Cardinals do, but it's going to be tough. The Cardinals have the home field advantage, and they still have a chance at catching the Panthers for first place. In the end, quarterback play will make the difference.

Cardinals win 28-20

Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1