Date/Time: October 27th, 4:25 PM ET
Spread: Arizona -1.5
Week 8 of the NFL season is here! With all of the games on the docket each and every week, we are going to be zeroing in on just one side or total that we think is the best of the bunch. Join us today, look at the game on Sunday, October 27th between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals.
We’re back within a game of the .500 mark after last week when we picked on the Falcons against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not everyone was able to cover the spread in the end in that game, but thanks to some great line shopping, we were in at +9, while the final margin of victory ended up being eight points. This week, we’re going to be fading the Falcons again, and the reasons are largely exactly the same as they were last week.
We already mentioned all of the injuries in last week’s column, but they bear repeating once again. WR Julio Jones, DE Kroy Biermann, and FB Bradie Ewing, three starters, are all out for the season, and a projected starting LB Sean Weatherspoon is on the short-term IR until at least Week 12. Those are the injuries that we know are going to kill the team, and that’s not even tipping the iceberg of what could be happening.
RB Steven Jackson has been out since Week 2 with a hamstring injury, and though he is finally back at practice, he hasn’t committed to playing on Sunday. Without him last week against a bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, RB Jacquizz Rodgers and RB Jason Snelling combined for 15 carries and 30 yards. Snelling has an ankle problem now as well that could keep him out of Sunday’s game. WR Roddy White is also still very questionable with a hamstring injury, and he has yet to practice this week. That leaves WR Harry Douglas and a bunch of stiffs (for lack of better terms) for QB Matt Ryan to throw the ball to on the outside.
This week, you can bet that Douglas is going to be matched up with DB Patrick Peterson every step of the way, and that’s probably going to be a matchup that takes away what Ryan can do with the football. We admit that we are a bit worried about what TE Tony Gonzalez could do to this defense after watching TE Jimmy Graham light this team up for 134 yards and two TDs a month ago, but if that’s all that Matty Ice has to work with, we’re taking our chances.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals don’t really look all that impressive. QB Carson Palmer can’t stop turning the ball over, as he has 11 picks in his last five games and 13 interceptions overall this year, and he’s leading an offense that is only putting up 309.7 yards per game. RB Rashard Mendenhall is battling a toe injury that has him questionable for this game, but the truth of the matter is that we think RB Andre Ellington is the better back and is the man that is better suited to end up breaking the game open.
That’s a lot of damning evidence against the Cards for sure, but we still have to go back and look at this schedule. The Falcons probably aren’t as bad as 2-4 indicates, but they aren’t anywhere near as good as the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, both of which gave up at least 20 points to this Arizona offense in the last two weeks.
It’s a long week of preparation as well for Arizona having played on Thursday Night Football last week, but that’s quite alright as far as we’re concerned. Even the lowly New York Giants came off of a Thursday Night Football game and won last week against the Minnesota Vikings, and the Chicago Bears probably would’ve won and covered as well had they not lost QB Jay Cutler to a groin injury early on in the game.
And then of course, comes the real kicker. The Falcons have to fly across the country for this one, and they haven’t exactly had a lot of luck doing that lately. They have been beaten in their last two trip to the desert, and the home team is 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS in the last six games in this series. This is a game that is all about just winning outright with the tiny point spread. This is the first time this year that the Cardinals are favored, and it is one of these rare situations where the oddsmakers are begging you to think that the road team is the right play. Not only does Arizona have a massive home field advantage here, but we think that it is the better of these two teams. There’s a reason that the Cards have already beaten the Carolina Panthers down at home, and we think they are going to do the same to the Falcons on Sunday.
Week 8 NFL Pick of the Week: Arizona Cardinals -1
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.