Arizona Cardinals (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: 1:00 PM ET, September 16, 2012
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ari +14/NE -14
Over/Under Total: 48
Both the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots won their season openers and New England was the same offensive juggernaut that lit up the league last season in scoring 34 points in their first game. However, unlike last season the Pats dominated the first game with their rushing attack and Tom Brady did not have to do it all. On the other side of the coin the Cardinals struggled to run the ball in their season opener and after starter John Skelton went down with an injury. Kevin Kolb came in to save the day and he will get the start in this game.
Last week the Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans 34-13 and the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks 20-16.
The Pats used the draft to improve their D, which killed them last season, and their top picks paid dividends right away in the Titans win. First round pick Chandler Jones had a sack and caused a fumble and fellow first round pick picked it up for a TD and 3rd round pick Tavon Wilson came up with an INT. If the Pats can play good D in this game they will be tough to beat.
Kolb has a lot of pressure under center, as he wants to win his starting job back. He has Larry Fitzgerald and a decent WR corps and I think he will have a good game since the Cardinals will air it out early and often. The Pats’ pass defense struggled last season and they gave up over 250 passing yards against the Titans. In an interesting betting trend New England is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
The Patriots shut down the run last week and that does not bode well for the Cardinals since they rushed for a grand total of 43 yards averaging 2.2 yards per carry in the win over Seattle. Beanie Wells had over 1,000 rushing yards last season and had 14 in the season opener. Ryan Williams and LaRod Stephens-Howling will join him in the backfield, but they will struggle to run the ball again against a New England defense that held Tennessee to 20 rushing yards. Yeah, 20 rushing yards and they held Chris Johnson to 4 yards on 11 carries.
Brady (23/31 236 yards 2 TD last week) has a couple of great TE’s and Brandon Lloyd has fit right in and was the leading WR for the Pats in the Tennessee game. On top of that New England’s offensive line played well with Brady only being sacked once. The Cardinals’ pass defense played well last week, but facing Brady and company they will not do so again and the Pats’ QB will have another good outing.
The one issue the Patriots had come into this season was their rushing offense with the departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. However, Stevan Ridley stepped and rushed for 125 yards in the season opener. He will get a lot of touches again and have another solid game, I think going over 100 yards, facing a Cardinals’ run defense that gave up 115 yards to the Seahawks.
While the Cardinals are 8-3 in their last 11 games they are only 6-13 ATS in their last 19 road games. The Patriots have covered the spread in the last 4 games facing the Cardinals.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: It’s highly unlikely that Arizona pulls off a road win here, but just the opposite when it comes to a cover. Double digit favorites have historically been a really poor proposition. I love the idea of getting two touchdowns against a secondary in which the jury is still out. Arizona can throw the ball, heck, they hae one of the best WR’s the game has ever seen in Larry Fitzgerald. There’s better options on the board this week but my money is on the Cardinals +14. Good luck!
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