Indianapolis Colts vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Indianapolis Colts (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-1 SU,
1-1 ATS), 8:20 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 27, 2009, University of
Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. TV: NBC

by Badger of

Point Spread: Colts +2/Cardinals -2
Over/Under: 48

The football will be flying all over the field on NBC this Sunday Night when the network hosts an exciting AFC-vs.-NFC duel of former
MVP quarterbacks featuring the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning against the Arizona Cardinals and veteran gunslinger Kurt Warner.

Manning and the Colts only had three offensive possessions in the
second half, but they were enough to help the Colts swipe a victory
from the Miami Dolphins on the road last Monday, 27-23. Manning hit
Dallas Clark on an 80-yard strike to open the game, then made a
perfect audible at the line of scrimmage on the final play (48-yard
TD to Pierre Garcon) to prove to the world-wide viewing audience he
is still an MVP-type player in the NFL and move the Colts to 2-0 this

Warner set a new NFL record for completion percentage last week when he went 24-for-26 for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the Cards 31-17
win over Jacksonville. But more importantly, Warners play last
Sunday versus the Jags showed the rest of the NFL world that hes not
done, the Cards are still a top team in the NFC and yes, they can go
on the road East of the Mississippi and win.

The point spread in this game opened with Arizona as slim 1-point
favorites, but the early action has moved the number up at most
sportsbooks all the way up to the Cards minus 2.5-points at a few of
the online sportsbooks.

The over/under total opened at 48 and has held firm for the most
part, although there are a few 47.5s listed if you look hard enough
and want the hook difference.

Offensively this game is noteworthy because of the big name quarterbacks playing in it, but it will more than likely be won by
the team that best supports its QB with a running game.

Indy has really struggled running the ball consistently the first few
weeks, as their 66 yards per game average indicates (29th in NFL).
But the Cardinals running game has been nearly as lopsided (79 ypg
25th), as both teams rely heavily on the passing attack to move the

But you can expect the Cards to have an extra emphasis on running
plays and balance in the game plan this week because the Colts
defense is 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed at 176.5 per
in the first two weeks. Considering the Indy defense is ranked No. 1
versus the pass (139 ypg allowed), what would you do?

The Cardinals defense, currently 4th against the run (56.5 ypg) and
6th overall (287.5 ypg), will be tested by Manning as he spreads the
field and picks away at the holes in the scheme. The one difference
is that Arizona has shown a strong pass rush so far, notching four in
each of their first two games.

It is rare indeed that these two meet on the gridiron, having met
just four times since the 1990 season. Indy has owned the small
series, winning three straight including a 17-13 snoozer on New
Years Day 2006 the last time they met.

Let it be noted though, that the lone Cards victory in the series
came in the only game played in Arizona (a 20-17 win in 1990), and
the Cards own a better against the spread record (3-1 ATS) in the
series too.

All four games have come in under the total, but before you go
betting that trend remember that the last time they met was in a
meaningless week 17 game for Indy. The games before that were from
1990 to 1996, back before Peyton Manning in Indy and back when the
Cardinals hardly won period.

Badgers Pick: Even though they lost Miami still provided the league with the blueprint on how to beat Manning and the Colts, keep them off the field. The problem is the Cards are running challenged, and
might not be able to take advantage of the Colts weakness. Either
way, its dueling QBs in the Dessert. Take the over of 47.5.