Chicago Bears (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (0-2)
Through 2 games, the Cardinals have been the worst team in the league. Not only have they lost both games by wide margins (24-6 and 34-0), but they have looked awful while doing it, ranking dead last in first down rate differential at -21.68%. Last week’s game in Los Angeles was the one of the worst single game performances by a team in years, as they managed just 5 first downs to 24 for the Rams and did not even make it past midfield until the final drive of the game, after the outcome was far from in doubt.
New quarterback Sam Bradford has not looked the same after missing most of 2017 with knee injuries and his supporting cast hasn’t helped much either. They’ve struggled on defense and on the offensive line and have little offensive skill position talent behind Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. They are expected to get defensive end Markus Golden back from injury this week and he could provide them with a much needed pass rusher opposite Chandler Jones. He had 12.5 sacks in 2016 before tearing his ACL 4 games into 2017, though it’s unclear how effective he’ll be in his first game back.
In addition to Golden’s return, the other good news for the Cardinals is that teams typically bounce back after getting blown out like the Cardinals did last week, as teams are 65-47 ATS since 2002 after a loss by 34 points or more. It’s counterintuitive, but it makes sense if you think about it, as teams tend to be underrated, overlooked, and embarrassed after a blowout loss. That loss shifted this line from Chicago being favored by 2.5 on the early line to now being favored by 5, the biggest line movement of the week.
Typically I like going against these big line movements, but I actually think this line is pretty appropriate. With the addition of Khalil Mack, the Bears are a top-10 team and have arguably the most non-quarterback talent in the league, while the Cardinals look like one of the worst teams in the league. I’m taking the Cardinals just because I think the Bears might overlook them a little bit and because I don’t think they’re as bad as they’ve looked thus far this season, but this is a no confidence pick.
Chicago Bears 17 Arizona Cardinals 13
Pick against the spread: Arizona +5