Denver Broncos (3-9 SU 4-8 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (3-9 SU 3-9 ATS) Week 14 NFL Football, U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ 4:15 PM EST Sunday December 12, 2010 on CBS
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Den -3/Ari +3
Over/Under Total: 42.5
In a non-conference match up between a couple of teams where struggling would be a step up the Arizona Cardinals host the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have lost 3 in a row and 7 of their last 8 and head coach Josh McDaniels was recently given his walking papers. Denver is hoping that the firing of their coach will bring the same results as in Dallas and Minnesota, who did the same thing and each won their next game.
In their last games the Broncos lost a 10-6 barnburner to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cardinals were embarrassed at home losing 19-6 to the St. Louis Rams.
The Cardinals may be in worse shape, as they have lost 7 straight and they are getting terrible play from the QB position. They have flip-flopped starters all season and in their last game things went from bad to worse. Derek Anderson started and was yanked after going 7/20 for 93 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT. Rookie Max Hall came in and after throwing 3 passes went down with a dislocated shoulder. The Cardinals then turned to another rookie in John Skelton. Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt stated recently that he did not know who would be starting in this game.
The Cardinals have lost 4 home games in a row and in their last 2 they have failed to score a TD. Yeah, it’s that bad in the desert.
At least the Broncos have a couple things going for them. First, Kyle Orton has played well and leads Denver and their 4th ranked passing offense. Second, Knowshon Moreno had a career high in rushing yards last week (161). Also, even though their D has been pretty bad this season they held the Chiefs to only 10 points last week.
Denver was killed in time of possession in their loss to KC (37:14 to 22:46) and that won’t happen in this game, as the Cardinals have struggled to put together many long drives in their last few games.
Orton was only 9/28 for 117 yards in the loss to the Chiefs, but at least this week he will be facing an Arizona pass defense that ranks 25th in the league. He will have a field day torching the Cardinals’ secondary and he and the league’s leading receiver Brandon Lloyd will hook up for some big plays.
Moreno may not hit his career high in yards in this game, but he will get a lot of carries and rush for over 100 yards against a horrid Cardinals’ rushing defense that ranks 30th in the league giving up an average of 144.3 yards per game.
It would make it easier for the Cardinals and their messed up QB situation if they could run the ball. They did rush for over 100 yards last week, but leading rusher RB Tim Hightower who ran for 81 yards on 15 carries, only had 14 yards on 6 carries in the 2nd half. Arizona’s rushing offense ranks 2nd to last in the league. At least they will be facing the Denver rushing D that ranks 31st and gave up 185 rushing yards to Kansas City. Don’t look for Hightower or fellow RB Beanie Wells to have a huge game, but they will run the ball well with all the touches they will get. This is especially the case if third stringer Skelton gets the start.
The Broncos did cover the spread last week, but they are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after an ATS win and they are only 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games.
Arizona has not only been a terrible team, but also a terrible betting team going 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Let’s see both teams have MAJOR issues on both sides of the ball and each is riding a losing streak. However, at least the Broncos have a passing offense and their 2nd year RB had a great game last week. Orton will play well and the Cardinals will lose badly at home for the 3rd game in a row. They should also show a renewed interest now that McDaniels is gone. Take the Broncos to easily cover the spread in this “marquee” match up.