It was a rough offseason for the Arizona Cardinals, as they had to dwell on what could have been in the previous season. The Cardinals were bumped out of the postseason in a rough loss to the Carolina Panthers. However, they figured to jump right back into the thick of things in 2016. It hasn’t worked out like that for Arizona. Barring a miraculous comeback and some help elsewhere, the Cards are going to have a very hard time getting back to avenge their playoff loss to the Panthers. In fact, the Panthers are staring from the outside as well.
Both squads are under .500 heading into Week 12 and need to find some good fortunes the rest of the way. But the Atlanta Falcons haven’t been able to pull away, so the door is still wide open for others in the NFC South. The Falcons come into this matchup with a record of 6-4. With the Cardinals at 4-5, a win today would be their biggest triumph of the year, but catching the Seahawks is going to prove to be difficult.
Arizona will need to find a way to traverse Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense. Always a threat to put up big numbers in the Matt Ryan era, the Falcons have looked as good as ever in 2016. Ryan has passed for 24 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with a completion percentage of 68.2%. A good college quarterback puts up a completion percentage like that. However, doing it in the NFL is not an easy task. The offense had its problems navigating through the Eagles’ defense, which ended with a 24-15 loss.
The Falcons are coming off a bye week, so they’ve had two weeks to prepare for the Cardinals. Head coach Bruce Arians had to make a trip to the hospital earlier in the week as a result of chest pains. It’s been a frustrating year for the Cardinals, as they’ve suffered some difficult losses. The stress is clearly starting to get to Arians, but everyone has to stay composed, as they are still alive and not out of anything just yet. A win over the Falcons today is imperative, though. Big matchup in the NFC today between the Cardinals and Falcons.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Falcons -5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Cardinals vs. Falcons Pick:
Carson Palmer has failed to look as impressive as he has in previous years with the Cardinals. He looked good leading the Cardinals last season to a 13-3 finish, but the offense has been unable to duplicate that same success. Arizona ranked among the best offensive units last season; however, in 2016 they’ve regressed to 9th in total yards per game and 17th in points per game. Clearly they haven’t been capitalizing when the opportunity presents itself. Palmer has thrown for 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, as well as 10 fumbles on the season. He hasn’t been getting much help around him, as the offensive line continues to get beat up.
Through all of the troubling times this year for the Cardinals, believe it or not they have had a top-flight defense. If the offense was anything closely comparable to last year, Arizona would be in business in a big way. The Cardinals are actually 1st in the NFL with only 287.4 yards per game. The perception is that the Broncos would be better in this regard, but the Cardinals are around 20 yards better. They are particularly strong against the pass, as they rank 1st, allowing just 190.2 passing yards per game.
The Falcons’ offense was anemic last week, so we’ll see if they can get back on track against the Arizona defense. For the Cardinals, the offense has been so poor that their defensive efforts are being ignored. However, this might be an opportunity for the Cardinals to look halfway decent on offense. Note that the Falcons are 28th on defense in yards allowed per game and are also giving up 28.3 points a game. They are 32nd against the pass, completely opposite of the 1st place Cardinals. I expect the best effort of the year from the Cardinals today. Bruce Arians is liked by his players, and I’d be surprise if they lay a dud after what transpired this past week. The points sure look nice in a game that should be decided by a field goal.
PICK: CARDINALS +5 (-110)