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Arizona Cardinals (4-4 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 4th, 2012, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
TV: FOX/DirecTV 704
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Az +11/GB -11
Over/Under Total: 44
The NFL’s hottest team in September, the Arizona Cardinals, fell from the top pretty quick and became the coldest team in October and they have a huge task on their hands to try and stop it from extending into November this Sunday when they travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers on Fox.
Arizona dropped their fourth straight with a sub-par performance at home on Monday Night Football against San Francisco, 24-3, and now they’ll have a short week to prepare to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Cardinals only had seven yards rushing on nine carries on Monday Night and they also gave up four more sacks for a league-leading 39 this season, numbers that will have to change soon or John Skelton will be joining an injured Kevin Kolb on the sideline.
It won’t be easy because right now the Packers seem to be hitting their stride, wining three straight and four of their last five since the infamous “interception” game against Seattle in late September. The Packers limped past Jacksonville last week, 24-15, but considering they were without seven injured starters (four on defense) the Packers were just happy to survive another week without anyone else going down.
According to the oddsmakers the Cardinals will have a steep hill to climb this week, since Green Bay opened at 10.5-point favorites at Lambeau. Even with the Packers inflated line (always a heavy public fave), the early money has been all Packers money and the point spread is up to minus -11 at most sportsbooks and as high as -11.5 or even -12.5 (at 5Dimes) at some of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web.
The over/under total opened at 44.5 and has dropped to either 44 or 43.5 at most of the sportsbooks listing a total.
Green Bay is still struggling to find a running game too, and it’s no coincidence that the Packers have allowed the second-most sacks behind the Cardinals (28) because defenses continually tee-off and get after Rodgers with no worry of a run. With Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings still out, the Packers can’t even go 4-wide and 5-wide anymore to spread teams out and let Rodgers read and react and try and get rid of the ball before the Cardinals strong interior rush gets to him.
Arizona will also have the luxury of facing three rookies in the Packers starting secondary, although after watching Skelton struggle on Monday night I’m not sure the Cards 24th-ranked aerial attack (211 ypg) will be able to capitalize. The Packers were exposed over the middle in the Jaguars game, so Larry Fitzgerald might be in store for a big game if Arizona decides to continue to throw it 50 times a game.
These two teams have played some great games over the years, most of them in the playoffs, including a 51-45 overtime shootout the Cardinals won back in the year they won the Super Bowl. The last time they met at Lambeau, a 31-14 Packers win, was just the second time these two have played at the legendary stadium, where Green Bay is 2-0 both SU and ATS.
The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the series (since 2000), but most of the other betting trends are pretty wishy-washy. Green Bay usually rebounds nicely after an ATS loss, going 11-2 ATS the following week. But there are just 1-4 ATS in their last five at Lambeau Field.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think that this is a game in which a lot of people are going to get caught with their pants down. Fresh in most people’s minds is the drubbing that AZ took on MNF vs. SF. This may very well happen again, especially off of a short week, however, one can’t ignore the fact that GB’s defense isn’t very good and they failed to blowout a hapless Jacksonville team last week. When you take that and add it to the fact that double digit NFL underdogs have historically been a good bet, I gotta side with the Cards here or pass. No way do I lay 11 points on GB this weekend.
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