Washington Redskins (6-4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)
I’ve lost money on the Cardinals in back-to-back weeks, but their price keeps dropping, so I’m going to keep buying. As a result of Arizona’s big loss in Atlanta last week, this line has dropped from 3.5 last week on the early line to 2.5 this week, a significant drop considering about 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal exactly. Last week’s loss in Atlanta was legitimate, but the previous week they lost by 6 in Minnesota because the Vikings had two 100+ yard return touchdowns, the first team to do that in a single game in 50 years. Those two plays resulted in at least a 17 point swing for the Vikings.
Despite their 4-6-1 record, last week was actually just the second time this season the Cardinals lost the first down rate battle and they could easily be 8-3 right now as they could have beaten New England, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Minnesota if one or two fluky things had gone their way (missed field goal against New England, punt return against Rams, blocked punt against Seattle, pick six against Minnesota). The Cardinals actually still rank 1st in first down rate differential, despite last week’s ugly loss in Atlanta. They ranked 1st in that metric last year as well.
The Redskins, meanwhile, rank 23rd in that metric thanks to a defense that is allowing the highest first down rate in the NFL. If this line had stayed at 3.5, I wouldn’t be confident in the Cardinals, but I think the price dropped appropriately for Arizona’s loss to the Falcons and I think we’re still getting good value with the Cardinals as a result. The Cardinals will be without Tyrann Mathieu this week because of injury, a huge loss for this defense, but the Redskins will be without tight end Jordan Reed, an equally big loss for Washington’s offense. As long as this line is under a field goal, I’d put money on the Cardinals again this week.
Arizona Cardinals 23 Washington Redskins 17
Pick against the spread: Arizona -2.5