Arizona Cardinals (8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS)
The Cardinals have won and covered four of their last five games and last week was no different as Carson Palmer was nearly flawless in his dissection of the Rams defense which led to a 30-10 drubbing of St. Louis and an easy cover in NFL odds. Palmer didn’t throw a pass all week in practice leading up to the game and the rest clearly paid off as he was 27-of-32 for 269 yards and one touchdown strike to stalwart receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Carson targeted Fitzgerald all day and he did not disappoint, catching all 12 passes thrown his way for 96 yards and a trip into the endzone. And though the offense was clicking seamlessly it was the defense that once again rose up to not only stifle the Rams attack but added nine points of their own via a safety by veteran sack master John Abraham who not only tracked down Rams QB Kellen Clemens in the endzone but recorded two other sacks for a total of three on the day. Karlos Dansby, another veteran linebacker, stepped in front of a Kellen Clemens pass to return it to the house for a pick-six.
Tennessee Titans (5-8 SU, 6-5-2 ATS)
After Week 4 the Titans were 3-1 and their fans were anticipating a year that would extend well into the postseason. But a 2-7 record since then has virtually extinguished any hopes that the Titans will be playing anything but a spoiler from now until season’s end. Their latest setback came last week when they traveled to Mile High and were bulldozed by Peyton Manning and the bucking Bronco juggernaut.
In fairness, the Titans played tough initially and actually held a 21-20 lead at the end of the first half. But the light at the end of the tunnel was just a freight train coming their way as Manning went off and trounced the Titans by the final score of 51-28. The ground game was effective early as running backs Shonn Greene and Chris Johnson contributed the team’s first three rushing touchdowns but then the roof caved in and Ryan Fitzpatrick was relegated to a pass first offense which struck gold only once when he launched a 41-yard bomb to Justin Hunter in the third quarter which pulled Tennessee to within six. But that was as close as Tennessee was going to get as they watched their 17th ranked defense get shredded by Manning and company.
NFL Free Pick:
I’m not sure how anyone’s knee jerk reaction couldn’t be a play on the Cardinals. Carson Palmer was absurdly efficient last week and their defense has proven all year to be one of the best in the business. Arizona is ranked 12th against the pass, 3rd against the run and are 7th in points allowed. Now let’s not discount the impact of losing rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu who was lost for the season last week with an ACL injury. But do the Titans have the skills to exploit Mathieu’s absence?
I’m not sure about that and I can’t even speak to a home field advantage for the Titans because they are 2-4 straight up at home this season. They have not won in front of the fan friendlies since they grounded the Jets back in September. That’s a long time and I’m not sure there is any reason to believe that streak will be broken here. I'll stick with the idea that Palmer will continue to shine, we'll at the Cardinals to our NFL picks this week.
Play Arizona -2 ½ in your NFL picks at Bet365.com.