Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Believe it or not, this is a matchup of 2-0 teams. Philadelphia being 2-0 isn’t that farfetched, but anyone who told you that they had Arizona starting 2-0, with a week 2 clash in New England on the schedule, is either lying or the biggest Arizona homer in the world or didn’t look at the schedule or some mix of all three. No one saw that coming and it killed about half of the survivor pools out there including mine. Side note, I almost wrote at the end of the New England/Arizona write up that I was so confident New England would keep your survivor pools alive that if Arizona won, I would shave my pubes, glue them to my face, and run naked through the streets of Boston, but I didn’t want to sound ridiculous (phew).
However, I’m still not sold on Arizona. They’ve got a great defense, but I don’t trust either of these quarterbacks (it’ll be Kevin Kolb again in this one) and neither of their running backs has been able to get anything going as they’ve rushed for just 148 yards on 53 carries in their first 2 games. Another side note, that’s actually 28th in the league. 4 teams have rushed for worse totals than that. Why can’t anyone run the football this year (17 teams under 4.0 YPC)? Anyway, eventually the Cardinals’ offense is going to have to play better if they want to win games consistently and I don’t give them much chance of doing that here at home against a Philadelphia team that has one of the best defenses in the league.
The Cardinals actually have a negative points per play differential (thanks to a 4.2 yards per play average that is tied for 2nd worst in the league), which does not bode well for their future and which suggests they can’t keep this up. The Eagles, meanwhile, have the league’s best points per play differential. Still, they’ve barely won both of their games because they’ve turned the ball over 9 times and possess a -3 turnover differential that is tied for 2nd worst in the NFC.
Turnovers were a huge issue for them last season, turning the ball over 38 times. Turnovers, however, are incredibly inconsistent on a week to week and year to year basis (which is why I love the yards per play differential stat, because turnovers aren’t a factor). Teams that turn the ball over 35 times or more in a season have on average 9.7 fewer turnovers the next season. The Eagles have been an exception to that statistic so far this season, turning the ball over 9 times in 2 games, but you have to figure, eventually their turnovers will become less of a problem and turnovers aside, this has been the best team in the league over the first 2 games.
As I said in the preseason, they’re one of the most talented teams in the league (even though they’re expected to be without Jeremy Maclin in this one) and they should be able to get a blowout win here, even on the road, against a fluky Arizona team. Arizona is home dogs of 3+, but unlike home dogs of 7+, I don’t have much of a problem betting on home dogs of 3-7. Home dogs of 3-7 are 215-257 since 2002, so there’s not much of a trend there as there is with 7+ home dogs (98-78).
One trend does work against the Cardinals. Teams coming off upset wins as dogs of 13+ are 14-29 ATS since 1989. I’d feel a little bit more comfortable if this line was -3 and I had field goal protection. However, I feel like this one isn’t going to be very close and I’m putting a pretty big play on the road team.
Public lean: Philadelphia (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Arizona covers)
Philadelphia Eagles 27 Arizona Cardinals 13
Pick against spread: Philadelphia -4 (-105) 4 units