Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons Pick
Arizona Cardinals (3-10 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-9 SU, 3-10 ATS)
NFL Football Week 15
Date and Time: Sunday, December 16th, 1:00pm EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, GA
By Bob Clark, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARZ +8.5/ATL -8.5 (5dimes)
Over/Under Total: 44
POWER RATINGS – WEEK 15: ATLANTA FALCONS -14
TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 14:
After tuning into week 14 in the NFL, I have come to one conclusion about this game…both teams suck. I am a lifelong Falcons fan and for some unknown reason, I actually thought we had a shot to win the NFC. But hey, in my defense so did a lot of national pundits. Although every year there is that team that many have faith in that falls just short, I would have NEVER believed that the Falcons were 4-9 headed into this one…no way. Bad defense, terrible offensive line play, and just all out bad football has been the problem this season for the Atlanta Falcons. It is honestly time to shut it down and get ready for next season. The talent is there but this season has been an epic failure and just ending it ASAP is the best thing to do. As for the Arizona Cardinals, they are about what many thought they would be…bad. Arizona is coming off of a loss to the Detroit Lions in a game that they were held to just three points. All season long has been like this for the Cardinals. They are averaging just over 13.5 points a game while their defense is allowing 25. I will say however, if the offense was a little better, the defense would not be on the field as much and allowing so many points. I do believe the Cardinals D is much better than they have shown. Just a little offensive help and this team can be right back in the thick of things in the NFC West.
HOW THE PUBLIC IS BETTING ARIZONA AND ATLANTA:
For some reason, the Atlanta Falcons are favored by 8.5 points over the Arizona Cardinals. Either the bookmakers are smoking crack or they just want to hand out free money for Christmas to everyone who fades Atlanta. With that said though, 56% of the early public action likes Atlanta even though they are giving up the points. As for the total points, the number is at 44 combined with the public betting being split just around 50/50. Against the spread this year, Atlanta is 3-10 while the Cardinals are at 6-6-1. This tells me Atlanta has been way over valued while the Cardinals are not AS BAD as most of the betting public thinks..
These two franchises do not have much of a history against each other although they have played each other quite a few times over the last decade including a playoff game in Matt Ryan’s rookie season. Since 2001, these teams have faced off ten times and the Falcons are 7-3 straight up in those games including taking four of the last five. As much as the Falcons are a favorite on paper this season, do not for a second think that this game is a gimmie…Atlanta has shown all season long that they can play down to anyone’s level…anyone’s.
Other than the major injuries that Atlanta suffered on defense early in the season and other than Devonte Freeman still being on IR, there are no new injury hits or at least nothing that can sway my pick one way or the other regarding the Falcons. As for Arizona, sources around the league are saying that defensive tackle, Robert Nkemdiche will be placed on IR with an knee injury while both Deone Bucannon and Chad Williams are still listed as Day to Day.
WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL:
When you talk about bad offenses in the 2018 NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals come to mind…quickly. These guys suck! Arizona is averaging just 158 yards passing per game and another 84 on the ground. That is an average of just 242 TOTAL YARDS PER GAME. Now, the Falcons have had some issues on defense but even so, it will be a tough task for Arizona to move the ball at will. The key this Sunday will be for the Cardinals to mix up the playcalling enough to keep the Atlanta defense on their heels. Arizona will try and shorten this game up and keep the Falcons dangerous yet underachieving offense on the sidelines. Arizona wants to keep this game in the upper teens to low 20s…MAX. If the Falcons get into the 27-34 point range then it is night night for Arizona. Again, look for the Cardinals to grind this out or at least attempt to.
WHEN ATLANTA HAS THE BALL:
Good lord…I can’t, I just can’t. I am sick of every week talking about how “dangerous” and “talented” this Falcons offense is. Although from a numbers and statistics standpoint, they are one of the best in the league, the offensive line is horrid. Matt Ryan has taken about 250 hits in the last three games and it is taking a toll. There have even been reporters in the Atlanta media asking Dan Quinn if he thinks it would be smart to just shut Matt Ryan down for the year and come back next season with a revamped O-Line in order to save some shots…Quinn took exception obviously to the question but it is something on everyone’s mind. This weekend, the Falcons will more than likely take advantage of the Cardinals D line and try and establish a run game…which would be amazing since they have not been able to do so pretty much all season. To be honest, Atlanta CAN win this game and they can win with ease, but the offensive line has to step up and give Matt Ryan time. If Ryan is beaten up and the run game stalls out, this will be a much closer game than the public thinks.
While most of you know that I really do not like basing my picks off of “trends,” here are a few that I just cannot ignore this week. Besides the Falcons being a complete dumpster fire and besides the fact they have only covered three spreads all year, they are also 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall and they are 0-6 ATS in their last six against teams with a losing record. Atlanta is bad and this weekend.. AGAIN…they will not cover.
The weather in Atlanta and much of North Georgia all week will be cold, rainy, and icy, however, playing conditions will be ideal with the roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium closed.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE ARIZONA CARDINALS PLUS THE POINTS IN ATLANTA THIS SUNDAY