Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins (-3.5)
After much speculation of who was going to play quarterback for the Redskins in the offseason, Rex Grossman made it perfectly clear that it’s his job. Grossman torched the New York Giants for 305 yards and 2 TDs en route to a 28-14 victory at home. The Arizona Cardinals are banking on a new quarterback arrival as well, Kevin Kolb. The pressure is on for him to perform, as the Cardinals have been seeking a replacement to Kurt Warner for a couple years now. For the Cardinals to be successful, he is going to have to play to his potential. Their abysmal defense is going to plague them all season long; the offense will need to keep up. This story already played out in week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.
Cam Newton passed for 422 yards and 2 TDs in his debut, also rushing for a score. How much of it was Cam Newton, or the Cardinals defense? I’m willing to bet Newton’s numbers were more of a reflection of his opponent. The Cardinals have glaring holes upfront and in the secondary. The Cardinals have to rely on rookie cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and A.J Jefferson. You may recognize Patrick Peterson’s name from LSU, but Jefferson is an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State. That is quite the challenge to go from Fresno State to the NFL so quickly. Add in the fact that both rookies didn’t have an offseason to become familiar with the playbook, and what you get is a porous pass defense. The Cardinals offense though, did keep up with the Panthers attack, which was enough to pick up a hard fought W. Kolb was impressive, passing for 309 yards and TDs in his debut with the Cardinals. However, the Panthers defense is nothing to get too excited about.
If there was a negative in the Redskins victory, it was the inability to stop the pass rush. Grossman got sacked four times against an above average Giants defensive line. If the offensive line can keep Grossman on his feet, he has the potential for an even bigger game than last week. His favorite target was tight end Fred Davis, who finished with 105 yards. Davis had a strong training camp, and it seems to have translated into the regular season. Starting tight end Chris Cooley is listed as questionable for week 2, but Davis should put forth a solid effort if he is by himself. If Cooley starts, it will be difficult for the Cardinals to contain both of them.
Not only did the offense look impressive, but I feel the Redskins are shaping up to have a nice defense this season. Brandon Jacobs usually produces huge games against the Redskins, but he was boggled up often, along with the rest of the offense. The Giants could never really get into a groove. Their offense is no juggernaut; however, they are no slouch either, so credit the Redskins.
A big reason I like the Redskins this week is simple: a team from the west travelling east to play a game at 1:00est. The Cardinals are 1-5 in situations like this in the past three years. I simply feel we are going to see a slow, sluggish defense on the field that Rex Grossman will take advantage of. Also, for whatever reason, the Cardinals have always struggled with the Redskins. In the last 10 games between them, the Redskins have won 9, the only loss coming by 1 point in 2000. While the Cardinals came up victorious last week, I wasn’t very impressed against a lackluster Panthers squad. This is a big game for Grossman. I think people will believe he’s legitimate if he performs well. In the confines of FedEx Field, the Redskins look like a solid week 2 bet in the NFL.
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