Arizona Cardinals (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARI -7.5/IND +7.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
In week two action, the Arizona Cardinals make the trip out east to face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Each team lost on Sunday and failed to cover the spread. Arizona fell to Detroit in a tough road loss to start the season, when a Detroit 4th-quarter push locked up the win. It went even worse for the Colts, who got torched on the road to the Rams, 46-9. It was a disheartening defeat and makes you wonder what the Colts are going to be able to come up with in the absence of Andrew Luck, who still wont be ready come this week.
The Cardinals looked pretty good getting off to a 10-0 lead and they still maintained a 17-9 edge late in the third quarter. The Lions, as they did last season, thrived in the late-stages of the game and scored 26 straight points. Four turnovers and some bad breaks were a big part of the equation for the Cardinals. With 7 of their points coming on a pick-six and a garbage touchdown late, the 23 points was not an impressive output.
Adding insult is the injury to David Johnson, who was knocked out the game against Detroit. He will be out for extended time and if you could pick one player to not lose, he would have been the one. A ton of the Arizona offense goes through Johnson, as he is a go-to guy both on the ground and aerially. Palmer, who looked awful on Sunday and hasnt really been in good form since 2015, must now depend on veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and anyone else who might be able to step up with some production. In the run-game, they might be relying on Karlos Williams and suddenly any hope the Cardinals had for the season seem to have gone whooshing out the window. As if that wasnt bad enough, LT DJ Humphries is out until the end of the month. Coach Arians and the entire team now face a challenge of somehow keeping it together.
The Arizona defense is going to have to find some answers and play a bigger role in the team success. And for three quarters they looked pretty good against the Lions on the road. The run game was grounded and Stafford wasnt really hitting his prime targets. OK, they melted late and Detroit was having their way on offense in the final quarter, but there were decent signs. The line will have to play better and looked to have lost a step with Calais Campbell no longer there. At least Chandler Jones can still get after it. They have a couple stars in the secondary with CB Patrick Peterson and S Tyrann Mathieu, but all in all, a lot of things are going to have to go right for them to be what you would call a really good defense.
The prognosis isnt a ton better for an Indy team that cant seem to avoid trouble in the personnel department. Andrew Luck waiting so long to go under the knife in the offseason has cost them with word being he wont be ready until October. In week one, Scott Tolzien did not impress and their only other option is Jacoby Brissett, a late addition to the team who might not quite be up to speed on all the plays. Theyre missing their center, a top corner, and a bunch of other contributors are already on the injury list. In a season where there looked to be hope, its starting to already look like a lost cause for the luckless Colts.
Tolzien did very little aerially with only 128 yards and a pair of picks that both got returned for touchdowns. Facing a career-defining moment, albeit in a tough road spot against a good Rams defense, he came up empty-handed. They still have a lot of the same piecesFrank Gore, TY Hilton, and Donte Moncrief. But what was a powerful offense under Andrew Luck a few years ago has grown stale. The line hasnt helped, as they are a part of the team that keeps going downhill. Again, injuries havent helped.
The Indy offense struggling against the LA defense paled in comparison to the defense giving up a big day to the Rams offense. On one hand, the Colts were able to stop some drives and force the Rams to attempt field goals and two LA defensive touchdowns made it look worse than it really was for the defense. They also kept Todd Gurley in check. But they still enabled Jared Goff to suddenly look like a really good quarterback, as he went over 300 yards and won his first NFL start by a ridiculous 37-point margin. But they were really inept against the pass, with the Rams suddenly looking good through the air.
Its sad to see two teams that looked so close to turning the corner go so south. Whatever formula these teams had a few years ago has been disrupted, with injuries and iffy personnel decisions at the root of it. Arizona is in a tough spot without Johnson, while the Colts look aimless without Luck. It takes a certain amount of moxie to take the Colts after how awful they looked on Sunday, but it might be even harder to lay a TD on a road version of this Cardinals team. Were taking the Colts.
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