Arizona Cardinals (9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date and Time: Sunday, November 30, 4:25pm EST
Where: Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARI -3/ATL +3
Over/Under Total: 44.5
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Sunday in the Georgia Dome, the first place Atlanta Falcons will play host to the NFC West division leading Arizona Cardinals. Now, it makes more sense to see Arizona leading a division, since they have a record of 9-2. What is completely shocking is that the Atlanta Falcons currently lead the NFC South with a 4-7 record. So, whether you want to believe it or not, this game is big for both of these teams. Arizona not only wants to win the West, but they want the home field advantage, while the Falcons need to win and stay in the NFC South lead. There is no hope for a wildcard for these Falcons. They either win the NFC South, or they go home for the offseason.
The Cardinals come into this game as a three point favorite and the total points are set at 44.5 total. As I write this article, 75% of the action is being laid on Arizona to go on the road and cover the spread. That is an extremely one sided wager and it makes me want to take a bit of a closer look.
The Atlanta Falcons….wow…what a mess. But, I say they are a mess, yet they lead the NFC South. The south, for the better part of a decade has been a very competitive division. It is amazing how poorly each of these teams have played in 2014. Both Atlanta and New Orleans have four wins each, while Carolina has three wins and Tampa with just two. The Falcons are 4-0 against the division, but 0-7 outside of the NFC South. This is mainly why they are in first place, beating up the rest of the bad teams. Just this past Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons had a chance to get their fifth win, but poor clock management and lack of defense down the stretch caused them to lose on a last second field goal to the Browns. That is now two games the Falcons have led only to lose on a field goal as time expired. Coming into this season, most experts knew the Falcons defense would be lacking in talent, but the offense would be able to carry them through some games. That has not been the case. Statistically, the offense is doing well from a yardage standpoint. Matt Ryan has the Falcons ranked 7th in the NFL in passing. The problem with this team is that they are one dimensional. The passing game is all Atlanta has. They are ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing, and the offensive line is just as bad, if not worse than they were in 2013. The defense has shown signs of improvement as of late, but now it is the offense that is sputtering down the stretch. To get this win over the Cardinals, the Falcons need to score. Arizona wins games, somehow, with a less than stellar offense. They play pretty solid pass defense, but other than that, the Arizona Cardinals are as average as they come. If Atlanta can come out of the gates and put up some points, I think they have a real shot of winning this game.
Arizona is one the leagues best teams. Statistically, they are not that good, but they find ways to win. The Cardinals are one of the very few teams that have a run game that is worse than Atlanta, but the Cardinals are only averaging about 78 yards per game. The bright spot for this football team is their run defense. The Arizona run defense is ranked third in all of the NFL allowing just 84 yards per contest. This team took a big hit, when quarterback, Carson Palmer tore his ACL a couple of weeks ago and was ruled out for the season. In his place, back up, Drew Stanton has taken the helm. In his two starts, the offense has suffered scoring just 14 points against Detroit, and a single field goal against the Seahawks. In those two games, the Cardinals went 1-1, but I am starting to think the loss of Palmer may hurt this team more than most think. In order to go into Atlanta and get a win, Arizona needs to score at least in the 20s. Atlanta will not be shut down at home, and if Arizona cannot get something going offensively, they could be looking at their third loss.
Like I mentioned earlier, 75% of the action is on Arizona. That is insane, especially playing on the road with your back up quarterback. Not only do I think the Falcons play the Cardinals close, I think Atlanta wins this game. I am not saying the Falcons are a good team, but Arizona on the road with Drew Stanton at QB, I just cannot pick them to cover a spread. Not as a fave anyway.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: THE ATLANTA FALCONS +3 POINTS