Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots: 2020 Week 12 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (6-4) at New England Patriots (4-6)

The Patriots are just 4-6, but they appear to have made the right decision to move on from Tom Brady and not guarantee him 50 million dollars for his age 43 and 44 seasons in 2020 and 2021 like the Buccaneers did. Brady is having some success in Tampa Bay, but he has a much better team around him with the Buccaneers and likely would not be having the same success in New England. In fact, there is an argument to be made that the Patriots would be worse off with Brady than with Cam Newton, even before taking into account that Newton is making next to nothing, allowing the Patriots to maintain long-term financial flexibility and shorten the length of their rebuild.

After ranking just 21st in the NFL in first down rate last season with Brady, the Patriots rank 8th in first down rate over expected this season at +1.84%. The Patriots have a better offensive line and running game this season, but they also don’t have their only consistent veteran wide receiver in Julian Edelman, who will miss his 5th straight game. The Patriots don’t have much of a passing game this season, but it’s unlikely it would have been much better with Brady throwing to these unproven receivers and Newton’s running ability at least gives this offense another dimension to make up for their lack of a downfield passing game. Overall, the Patriots’ offense hasn’t been the problem. 

The big problem is their defense, which led the league in first down rate allowed by a wide margin last season, but has fallen to 24th in first down rate allowed over expected at +1.80%. That’s understandable, given that 6 of their top-11 in snaps from last year’s defense are no longer with the team, either leaving in free agency, trade, or opting out. Even with their defensive struggles though, they’ve been better than their record suggests, as they’ve played a tough schedule and have gone just 2-4 in one score games. 

In terms of schedule adjusted first down rate differential, the Patriots rank a middling 19th at +0.04% and they could easily be better than that going forward, because they’re healthier now than they’ve been and because offense is much more predictable and consistent on a week-to-week basis than defense. If their defense can even be middling going forward, this won’t be an easy team to face. My roster rankings are even more generous, ranking them 12th. The Patriots have had a couple stinker performances in recent weeks, nearly losing to the Jets and losing to the Texans, but they were in a bad spot in both of these games, before and after a big upset victory over the Ravens. Coming off of last week’s loss, I would expect much better focus from New England this week.

Instead, it could be New England’s opponents who aren’t totally focused, with the Cardinals potentially looking ahead to a key divisional matchup with the Rams next week in Arizona. The Cardinals are a very similar team to the Patriots, with their defense significantly lagging behind their offense, and these two teams rank about even in my roster rankings. We’re only getting a point and a half with the Patriots as home underdogs, so there isn’t enough here for the Patriots’ money line to be worth betting without any fans in the stands, but these two teams are about even except for the spot and with the Patriots in the better spot, I would expect them to sneak out a close victory, so the Patriots should be the better side for pick ‘em purposes. The money line at +110 is worth a small bet, as the Patriots should be considered no worse than 50/50 to win this game straight up and my calculated line is New England -1.5.

New England Patriots 33 Arizona Cardinals 31 Upset Pick +110

Pick against the spread: New England +1.5

Confidence: Low

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: 2020 Week 11 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (6-3) at Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

The Seahawks started 5-0 before their bye, but it wasn’t a very convincing 5-0, as four of their wins came by one score. It was very similar to last season when they went just 1-3 in games decided by more than one score, but made the playoffs because a 10-2 record in games decided by one score pushed them to 11 wins on the season. In total, the Seahawks went 14-2 in one score games over a 16-game stretch of one score games, which was highly improbable and not something that was likely to continue. Even elite quarterbacks like Russell Wilson struggle to win more than half of their one score games on a consistent basis and before that 14-2 stretch Wilson actually went just 30-34 to start his career in one score games.

Sure enough, since their week 6 bye, the Seahawks have dropped 3 of the past 4 games, including an 0-2 record in one score games. Once seemingly the favorite for the #1 seed in the NFC, the Seahawks are suddenly in a 3-way tie for the NFC West lead, ahead of a crucial Thursday Night Football matchup with the Cardinals, who currently hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a 37-34 victory in Arizona back in week 7. On top of that, of the three teams tied for the NFC West lead, the Seahawks have statistically been the worst, as they have just a +24 point differential and rank just 15th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at +0.48%.

There is some good news for the Seahawks though. For one, they typically finish seasons better than they start. They lost last week in the first game of the second half, but since Russell Wilson arrived in 2012, the Seahawks are 42-21-2 ATS in games 9-16, as opposed to 34-34-4 ATS in games 1-8. On top of that, the Seahawks are an offensive led team, which is a good thing because offensive performance tends to be much more consistent week-to-week than defensive performance. The Seahawks rank 3rd in first down rate over expected, so if their defense, which has ranked 25th in first down rate allowed over expected, can be even a middling defense the rest of the way, this team is going to be tough to beat.

This is also a great spot for the Seahawks, off of back-to-back losses. Not only does it give us a better line, with the Seahawks shifting from being 5.5-point favorites on the early line last week to being 3-point favorites this week, but they’ve typically done well off of a loss in the Russell Wilson era at 27-12-3 ATS and have been even better off of back-to-back losses, going 7-1 ATS with no 3-game losing streaks in Wilson’s 137-game career. The Seahawks figure to be fully locked in for this game, especially having lost to the Cardinals earlier this season, while the Cardinals could be a little flatter, having already beaten the Seahawks once and coming off an insane last second win against the Bills last week.

All that being said, I was hoping for a better injury report for the Seahawks, as their defense may need to get at least mostly healthy to be a middling unit. They got safety Jamal Adams back a couple weeks ago and have added veterans Damon Harrison and Carlos Dunlap to give them a much needed boost on the defensive line, but they’re still missing both of their cornerbacks, Shaq Griffin and Quinton Dunbar, who will miss their fourth and second game respectively this week. 

On offense, the Seahawks get #2 running back Carlos Hyde back from a 3-game absence, but will be without lead running back Chris Carson for the 4th straight game and, with center Ethan Pocic out, this is their 6th straight game missing at least one starting offensive lineman. Injury problems have been part of the reason for the Seahawks regression in recent weeks, so I was hoping that at least one of the aforementioned absent players would return. 

Without them, it’s hard to justify placing a bet on the Seahawks as field goal favorites, given that they’ll have no real homefield advantage without fans in the stands. This line suggests the Seahawks are about 2.5 points better than the Cardinals, giving them a half point for homefield advantage. I would say 2.5 points is about right, as the Cardinals are in many ways a slightly lesser version of the Cardinals, with a strong offense and a defense that has struggled. I still think the Seahawks should be the right side because I don’t envision them losing three straight games, especially on a short week when the more veteran, better coached team usually wins, but a 1-3 point win wouldn’t really surprise me, so I wouldn’t recommend placing money on the Seahawks.

I am locking in TEN +6 @ BAL and JAX +10.5 vs. PIT now before the lines shift. I will have a full write-ups as usual with the rest of my picks this weekend.

Seattle Seahawks 29 Arizona Cardinals 24

Pick against the spread: Seattle -3

Confidence: Low

Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals: 2020 Week 10 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (7-2) at Arizona Cardinals (5-4)

These two teams have been pretty similar this year. Both have had dominant offenses, with the Cardinals ranking 1st in schedule adjusted first down rate at +3.55% and the Bills ranking 3rd at +3.09%, but both defenses have struggled mightily, ranking 25th and 28th respectively in schedule adjusted first down rate allowed. Typically, teams with dominant offenses and weak defenses are smart bets going forward because offensive play tends to be much more static week-to-week, while defensive play is more inconsistent.

The Bills have a much better chance of being improved defensively going forward than the Cardinals though, as they have more talent on that side of the ball. These two teams are about the same offensively, but the Bills’ defensive edge gives them a 2.5 point edge in my roster rankings overall. Given that the Cardinals will have minimal fans for this home game, I have this line calculated at Buffalo -1.5, so we’re getting some line value at Buffalo +2.5. 

The Cardinals are also in a look ahead spot, playing the Seahawks on a short week in Seattle on Thursday Night Football. Favorites cover at just a 44.0% rate all-time before Thursday Night Football and, making matters worse for the Cardinals, the Bills should be fully focused ahead of their bye. Favorites are just 13-24 ATS over the past thirty seasons before a short week when their opponent will next have an extended rest, which isn’t a big sample size, but it makes sense. I’d like the Bills more if this line creeps up to +3, but the Bills are still worth a bet at +2.5 and the money line is a smart bet as well.

Update: The Bills had two of their top-3 cornerbacks ruled out on Saturday because of COVID. I probably would not have bet them Friday night if I hadn’t known that was going to happen, but that’s the nature of predicting games in 2020. I do still have the Bills as slightly favored to pull the upset though.

Buffalo Bills 34 Arizona Cardinals 33 Upset Pick +125

Pick against the spread: Buffalo +2.5

Confidence: Medium

Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals: 2020 Week 9 NFL Pick

Miami Dolphins (4-3) at Arizona Cardinals (5-2)

The Dolphins made the surprising decision during their week 7 bye to bench veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Tua is the obvious long-term franchise quarterback for this team, but there was speculation he wouldn’t play at all as a rookie, working his way back from a serious leg injury that ended his collegiate career, and, with Fitzpatrick playing well in the first 6 games of the season, including back-to-back 24+ point wins in weeks 5 and 6, it seemed like Tua would be stuck with mop up duty for the foreseeable future. Instead, those two starts ended up being Fitzpatrick’s last as, seemingly sticking to a plan decided in the off-season, the Dolphins installed Tua as the starter during their bye and he made his season debut last week at home against the Rams.

I had a lot of concern that this offense would take a step back in the short-term with Tua under center, because Fitzpatrick was playing well and doing a great job of being successful despite poor offensive line play in front of him, something I didn’t expect Tua to be able to do as well right away. That concern was legitimized against the Rams, as Tua finished as PFF’s 2nd worst ranked quarterback for the week and led the Dolphins to just 8 first downs/touchdowns on 48 snaps, but that’s largely been ignored because the Dolphins won the game 28-17 on the strength of a +2 turnover margin and a whopping three return touchdowns, something they definitely won’t be able to count on every week. I would expect this offense to continue to struggle and for the Dolphins to not be able to compensate for that nearly as well going forward.

The Dolphins have the edge on defense in this matchup in Arizona against the Cardinals, as they rank 18th in first down rate allowed over expected at -0.92%, while the Cardinals rank 22nd at -1.64% and have some significant absences on that side of the ball as well, but offense is a much more consistent, predictable side of the ball and the Cardinals have an enormous offensive edge, ranking 2nd in first down rate over expected at +3.36%, while the Dolphins rank 23rd at -1.04% and will likely be even worse than that going forward because of their quarterback switch. This also could be a tough spot for the Dolphins because they are coming off of a big home upset win and now have to travel cross country to face a team coming off of a bye. Teams only cover at about a 42% rate all-time after a win by 11+ points as home underdogs of 3.5+ points.

Despite that, the Cardinals are just 4.5-point favorites because the general public sees the Dolphins being 4-3 and coming off of a big week and ignores that they’ve likely downgraded their quarterback, that they’re in a tough spot, and that they’ve faced a relatively easy schedule thus far this season, with two of their wins coming against the two worst teams in the league in the Jets and Jaguars and a third win coming against a banged up 49ers team that had to bench a hobbling Jimmy Garoppolo for CJ Beathard (and the fourth win being last week’s fluky game). Arizona should be favored by at least a touchdown (my calculated line is Arizona -7.5), so we’re getting good line value at Arizona -4.5. This is a high confidence pick for now, but it’s one I am considering for Pick of the Week. If I decide to upgrade this game, I will do so on Saturday.

Arizona Cardinals 31 Miami Dolphins 23

Pick against the spread: Arizona -4.5

Confidence: High

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: 2020 Week 7 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (5-0) at Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

The Seahawks are 5-0, but four of their five wins have come by one score. That isn’t anything new for the Seahawks, who have 14 wins by one score or less over the past two seasons, as opposed to 2 losses in one score games. In fact, in games decided by more than one score, the Seahawks are just 2-3 over the past two seasons. A team’s record in close games tends to even out in the long run and, while it might make sense that an elite quarterback like Russell Wilson could consistently pull out close victories, even elite quarterbacks don’t consistently win close games and, before the start of last season, Wilson was just 30-34 in his career in one score games.

Wilson is arguably playing as well as he ever has in his career right now, but even still, the Seahawks aren’t winning easily. Wilson probably won’t play quite this well all season, so the Seahawks will need their defense to play better to compensate or they could very easily start losing some of these games. They’re capable of playing better defensively, but it probably won’t be until they get stud safety Jamal Adams back from injury, which won’t be this week. That’s a problem for the Seahawks, who will be on the road for a key divisional game against the Cardinals, who sit just a game and a half back in the standings right now.

The Cardinals haven’t played a tough schedule, but they’ve won the first down rate battle in 5 of their 6 games, including a 3-point loss to the Lions in which they won the first down rate battle by 10.50%, but lost the turnover margin by 3. The Cardinals rank 2nd in the NFL in first down rate differential at +6.10% and, even adjusted for schedule, they rank 6th at +3.61%. They’re probably overachieving right now, particularly on defense, and could regress, but even still, they’re certainly the kind of team that can give the Seahawks a competitive game and even pull the upset as home underdogs.

I have this line calculated at Seattle -1.5, so we’re getting good value with the Cardinals as 3.5-point home underdogs. The Seahawks are in a good spot coming off of a bye and road favorites of 3 or more are 75-40 ATS off of a bye since 1989, but I don’t know if that should apply, given that this line is too high. It’s enough to deter me from making a bigger play, because good teams often come out of their bye improved, but the Cardinals are still worth a bet, especially since they’re in their own good spot off of a blowout Monday Night Football win, as teams are 64-42 ATS since 1989 off of a MNF win by 21 or more points.

Seattle Seahawks 34 Arizona Cardinals 33

Pick against the spread: Arizona +3.5

Confidence: Medium

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys: 2020 Week 6 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

I have been considering this as my Pick of the Week all week and, with good injury news coming in on Saturday, I think this makes the most sense of my top options this week, for several reasons. For one, I think this line is way off, favoring the Cardinals by 1.5 points on the road in Dallas, where the Cowboys will have something resembling a crowd in the stands. This line was at Dallas -3 a week ago and, while it’s certainly understandable that Dak Prescott’s injury would cause this line to move, there have been some other injury developments in this game since last week, with the Cardinals losing top edge defender and pass rusher Chandler Jones and the Cowboys likely to get top linebacker Leighton Vander Esch back from a 4-game absence, which is the injury news that solidified this pick for me.

As much as Prescott’s injury hurts the Cowboys, they at least have a capable experienced backup in Andy Dalton behind him, as opposed to the Cardinals, who severely lack pass rush talent without Jones, who was one of the best pass rushers in the game. Dalton has plenty of weapons around him on this offense and the Cardinals don’t have the edge defenders to take advantage of the Cowboys’ missing offensive tackles, so the Cowboys should still be able to move the ball with relative ease in this one. Meanwhile, the Cowboys defense should have a much better chance of slowing down the Cardinals with Vander Esch back in the lineup. I have the Cowboys about 1.5 points better than the Cardinals in my roster rankings, suggesting the Cowboys should be at least field goal favorites at home with some homefield advantage.

The Cowboys are also in a much better spot. While they also have an easy trip to Washington on deck, the Cardinals have to turn around and host the undefeated Seahawks in a major divisional game and they could easily look past the Cowboys as a result, especially with Dalton under center. Underdogs are 118-68 ATS since 2014 before being favorites when their opponent will next be favorites, including 11-2 ATS as home underdogs before being road favorites when their opponent will next be home underdogs. That should all be true here. Add in the additional motivation the Cowboys will have to silence doubters and win this one for Dak and I like their chances a lot in this one. Tampa Bay would probably be my Pick of the Week if not for Vander Esch, but the Cowboys are my top pick this week.

Dallas Cowboys 30 Arizona Cardinals 24 Upset Pick +100

Pick against the spread: Dallas +1.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets: 2020 Week 5 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) at New York Jets (0-4)

I’m torn on this one. On one hand, the Jets have been inarguably the worst team in the league through 4 games, as they rank dead last by a wide margin in point differential (-66, next closest is -49) and first down rate differential (-11.66%, next closest is -8.84%). The way they’ve played, it’s hard to imagine them being competitive against anyone outside of the worst few teams in the league. They were 8.5-point home underdogs in this home game against the Cardinals on the early line last week, but we’re getting a smaller number now, with this line dropping down to 7, in large part due to the Cardinals losing their second straight game last week.

The Cardinals started out hot with two straight wins, but the public has soured on them as they’ve fallen down to 2-2, including upset losses to the Lions and Panthers. However, they won the first down rate battle against the Lions by 10.50%, only losing by 3 because of a -3 turnover margin, which is a very inconsistent metric week-to-week, and then against the Panthers, they were without three defensive starters, two of whom are expected to return this week, most importantly safety Budda Baker, who is one of their top defensive players. 

Even with losing the first down rate battle against the Panthers, the Cardinals still rank 9th in the NFL in first down rate differential at +2.81%. Their 14th ranked defense probably won’t be as good going forward, as they have similar personnel to last year when they finished 30th in first down rate allowed, but they should still finish better defensively than they did last year and their 10th ranked offense could easily keep this up. Their offense finished last season 18th in first down rate and now they have Kyler Murray in his second year, a full season of Kenyan Drake, and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins as a #1 wide receiver. Even if their defense falls off, this should still be a competitive mid-level team because of their offense.

On the other hand, the Jets could be a little better than they’ve been in recent weeks, for two reasons. For one, they are getting running back Le’Veon Bell back from injury, giving them arguably their best skill position player back a week after the Jets got top pass catcher Jamison Crowder back from injury. The second reason is that quarterback Sam Darnold is out with an injury for the Jets, which could prove to be a blessing in disguise, given how badly he’s been playing lately. 

That’s not to say Flacco is definitely going to be an upgrade, as Flacco hasn’t been a capable starter in a few seasons and now is in his age 35 season and coming off of a major injury, but he’s a very experienced veteran who could stabilize the position a little for a couple games. I’m still taking the Cardinals, but there are enough reasons to think the Jets will be better this week than they’ve been this season, so this is a no confidence pick. The most likely result might be a push.

Final Update: The Cardinals have a bit of a surprise absence with safety Chris Banjo being unable to return from his one week absence despite practicing throughout the work. Budda Baker’s return is a much bigger deal, but the Cardinals will still be without a pair of defensive players with Devon Kennard also out. Since I was barely on the Cardinals to begin with, I’m flipping this to the Jets, still for a no confidence pick.

Arizona Cardinals 27 New York Jets 20

Pick against the spread: NY Jets +7

Confidence: None

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers: 2020 Week 4 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (2-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-2)

The Cardinals have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start to the season on both sides of the ball. They have won the first down rate battle in each of their first three games of the season and not only do they rank 4th in the league in first down rate differential at +5.60%, but they’re also the only team in the league with an offense and a defense that both rank in the top-12 in first down rate and first down rate allowed. The Cardinals picked up their first loss of the season last week, but they only lost by three, despite losing the turnover battle by 3, and they won the first down rate battle by 10.50%. Turnover margins are very unpredictable on a week-to-week basis and it was actually impressive to see them keep it close despite their turnover issues. 

Unfortunately, the Cardinals are very beat up this week, missing safeties Budda Baker and Chris Banjo and possibly wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. I wouldn’t expect their defense to continue playing this well all season either way, as they’ve largely outperformed their talent level and have had an easy schedule, but missing their safeties is a big blow, particularly Budda Baker, who has been arguably their best defensive player this year. Meanwhile, their offense, which has a good chance to maintain their high level of play long-term, will obviously find that much more difficult this week if Hopkins can’t go after not practicing all week. 

The Panthers have a big injury absence with running back Christian McCaffrey on the sidelines, but they get a big boost on defense this week with stud defensive tackle Kawaan Short returning from injury, as well as cornerback Eli Apple, whose return should help to a lesser extent. With Hopkins being highly questionable for the Cardinals, I have the Cardinals just 3 points ahead of the Panthers in my roster rankings right now, so we’re getting value with the Panthers at home as 3-point underdogs. I wouldn’t recommend betting them unless Hopkins misses or unless this line moves up to 3.5, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes either way.

Arizona Cardinals 24 Carolina Panthers 23

Pick against the spread: Carolina +3

Confidence: Low

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: 2020 Week 3 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (0-2) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

One of the big early surprises of this young season has been the play of Arizona’s defense, which has the 5th lowest first down rate allowed in the league at 33.88%, after finishing 30th in first down rate allowed with similar personnel in 2019. The Cardinals have an impressive offense with Kenyan Drake and DeAndre Hopkins giving them a pair of offensive playmakers around quarterback Kyler Murray, who has taken a step forward himself this season, so if their defense can continue playing like this, this could be a dangerous team.

I don’t expect this level of defensive player to continue though. On paper, they are much more in line with how they played last season and they haven’t faced a tough schedule thus far, facing a banged up 49ers offense and a Washington team that has one of the worst offenses in the league. At the very least, I don’t expect the Cardinals to keep up their league leading 26.1% third down conversion rate allowed, over a 20% improvement from their 2019 defense.

The Cardinals schedule gets tougher on their defense this week with the Lions coming to town. Detroit’s offense hasn’t been that impressive thus far this season, but they get top wide receiver Kenny Golladay back from injury this week, which is huge, as he’s gone for a 75/1226/9 slash line in his last 16 games with Matt Stafford, and they could be healthier on the offensive line this week as well. The Cardinals shouldn’t have much problem moving the ball against this Detroit defense, but this could easily be an evenly matched shootout. With reduced homefield advantage for the Cardinals, I have this calculated at Arizona -3, so we’re getting some line value with the Lions at 5. There isn’t enough here for this to be worth betting, but the Lions should be the pick for pick ‘em purposes, as the most likely outcome of this game is the Cardinals winning by a field goal.

Arizona Cardinals 34 Detroit Lions 31

Pick against the spread: Detroit +5

Confidence: Low

Washington Mascots at Arizona Cardinals: 2020 Week 2 NFL Pick

Washington Mascots (1-0) at Arizona Cardinals (1-0)

The Cardinals pulled off a big upset last week in San Francisco, knocking off the reigning NFC Champions by score of 24-20 as 6.5-point underdogs. The Cardinals legitimately played well on both sides of the ball and finished with the 5th highest first down rate differential of the week at +8.24%. I buy their offensive performance, as they finished last season 18th in first down rate differential and now have DeAndre Hopkins as a #1 option, Kyler Murray in his second year, and a full season of Kenyan Drake, so they could make a leap offensively, but I have to see more from their defense to buy that they’re going to be consistently better than their 30th ranked finish in first down rate allowed in 2019, without any major off-season upgrades.

The Cardinals’ defensive performance last week might have had more to do with the fact that the 49ers were missing their two starting wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk due to injury and then had to turn George Kittle into a decoy for most of the game after he suffered an injury of his own. If the Cardinals’ defense falls back down to earth, they won’t be more than a middling team and will be looked back on as overrated after the first week.

The formerly named Washington team also got an upset win last week, knocking off the Eagles by score of 27-17 as 6-point home underdogs. That upset also was influenced by injury, as the Eagles were missing their top two offensive linemen and their entire right side of the offensive line with injury, though Washington had injury issues of their own, missing top linebacker Thomas Davis and top cornerback Kendall Fuller, who are both expected to return this week. However, Washington didn’t get nearly as much attention for their upset as Arizona, as this line shifted up further from Arizona -6 on the early line last week to Arizona -7 this week. 

The Cardinals are definitely the better team, but the Mascots do some things well as well and they will play hard every week for Ron Rivera because of the situation he’s coaching through (think the Colts surprising 11-win season in their ChuckStrong year in 2012), so I only have the Cardinals about 3 points better in my roster rankings. Given that and that the Cardinals won’t have a normal homefield advantage this week, there’s some line value here with Washington, who should only be underdogs of 4.5 points at most and should be able to keep this one relatively close. They’re worth a small bet.

Arizona Cardinals 24 Washington Mascots 20

Pick against the spread: Washington +7

Confidence: Medium