Arizona Cardinals (4-5 SU, 2-6-1 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARI (pk)/HOU (pk)
Over/Under Total: 38.5
The Arizona Cardinals come into NRG Stadium on Sunday to take on the Houston Texans in week 11 action. Arizona is coming off the long week after a 22-16 loss to the Seahawks last Thursday. They are now 4-5 and look to get back to even this week against a sideways Houston squad that has lost three games in a row and seen their season destroyed by a litany of key injuries. They fell to the Rams, 33-7, on Sunday and they could really use a positive development, as it would be really hard to remain optimistic if not able to hold down the fort against the Cardinals.
You dont have to be a Houston fan to at least feel for their sorrows this season. With their offense suddenly in high-gear with Deshaun Watson, it would have been interesting to see how far they could have taken it. With the season ending injury to Watson, along with other injuries on both sides of the ball, they were stripped of their firepower. They are now back to being an impotent offense with a defense just trying to patch it together with most of their heavy-hitters out of action. While not technically out of it, its not easy to picture this team going on a big roll to climb back into it.
QB Tom Savage is not a bad player, but hes probably not cut out to be a starter in this league. That might be a hasty judgment, but hes completing less than half of his passes and had two more interceptions on Sunday, in addition to two lost fumbles. He hit Bruce Ellington for a TD and has been connecting decently with top receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Lamar Miller isnt going to shine every week, but can put together some nice runs in the right spots. In their last two games, they have scored a total of 21 points and its jarring to see how far theyve fallen off since losing Watson to injury. Can they get something going this week against the Cardinals?
The Houston defense has been able to survive in the face of injuries before, but the stars just didnt line up right for that this season. What really isnt helping is a secondary that has bizarrely become quite porous over the course of the season. There have been injuries, though its unclear why that part of their D disappeared this season. Losing most of the power on their defensive line hasnt helped, as the personnel losses really polluted the entire defense. They still have difference-makers on this side of the ball with guys like Jadeveon Clowney, but without a handful of key starters, namely JJ Watt and Whitney Mercillus, this side of the ball is adrift at sea.
Arizona is just 4-5, also snake-bitten this season in the injury department. Losing Carson Palmer was a bad loss, with the team already losing the lynchpin of their offense earlier with David Johnson. Drew Stanton isnt a bad backup, 7-4 in 11 games as a Cardinals starter. With him now dealing with a gimpy knee, we might end up seeing Blaine Gabbert behind center, a 40-time starter in this league. There is still some appeal with a Cardinals team that has actually managed to be somewhat-resolute in the face of a lot of adversity. Theyre stubbornly hanging in there. But like their counterparts this week, injuries threaten to undermine their entire season.
Well see who gets the start on Sunday at quarterback for the Cardinals, though Stanton was starting to really move the ball late against the Seahawks last Thursday. He hit Larry Fitzgerald for 10 receptions and 113 yards, while TE Jermaine Gresham caught a TD pass. Adrian Peterson gave away a fumble with an awful showing of 29 yards on 22 rushes. While getting Peterson has helped, hes not going to be a dynamo in every game he plays this season, as the aging back will be good some games and not so good in others. With the losses of Palmer and Johnson, with some key pieces up-front also out of action, well see what they can come up with. Needless to say, this offense isnt nearly as dangerous with all the personnel problems.
The Arizona defense did fairly well against Seattle. Certain guys are starting to step up. In his second year with the team, Chandler Jones is really piling on the sacks. Rookie Haason Reddick has also been getting after quarterbacks. The line showed some upside on Thursday, with Frostee Rucker showing a lot of energy, along with rising Olsen Pierre, who really had an impactful game. The line looks to be making big strides. They get good play from Karlos Dansby and Deone Buchanon at linebacker. The secondary was a bit better and they hope to see more playmaking in coming weeks from guys like Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson.
This is a tough game to calculate, with a lot of moving pieces on both sidelines. Each team has been compromised to different degrees. It seems Arizona might be hanging in there better in light of all the adversity, but they are now looking to maybe go three-deep at quarterback, though Tom Savage is not much of an upgrade over Gabbert, if at all. I just see Arizona as the more-intact team with a little better overall spirit and I see them covering the spread on Sunday.
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