There are a lot of questions on offense for both the Kansas City Chiefs & Arizona Cardinals. Bettors will have to answer these in order to win their NFL picks for Saturday's preseason play.
What We Know About The Coaches
Andy Reid of the Chiefs is 28-36 in the preseason, and he’s been 2-2 and 1-3 in his last two preseasons. Reid just doesn’t seem to think that he needs to push his teams in preseason. He wants to get a sense from a greater distance about what works and what doesn’t.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians is 4-4 in the preseason, having gone 3-1 in 2013 and 1-3 last year. He will want to see what his second-string quarterback and third-string quarterback can do after last season, in which the Cardinals suffered because their second-string and third-string quarterbacks could not successfully back up Carson Palmer when the veteran got injured with the Cardinals at 9-1 in the standings. Arizona faltered later in the season, so Arians will coach this game intently. He should have a real edge over Reid in this situation, and this is the first reason I am backing the Cards with my NFL picks today.
Read Another Capper's Contrary NFL Pick: Chiefs +3
The quarterbacks are real mysteries in this game, but the likely keys to predicting the outcome. The Chiefs need to give a ton of work to second-string signal caller Chase Daniel and third-string quarterback Aaron Murray. Daniel has had some chances to get live NFL action, but this might be his best chance to stick on an NFL roster, since the Chiefs’ running game is good enough to take pressure off a quarterback. Murray is a blank slate – there’s no way to project what he’s going to do when he plays, but he’ll probably have to get some time under his belt before he can be valuable to the Chiefs.
The Cardinals have Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas as backups to Carson Palmer. Both men know they need to be ready after last season, when the Cardinals were 9-1, saw Palmer get hurt, and then fell out of the division lead down the stretch. This should be motivation for Arizona, and probably enough to merit a slight edge here.
Team Depth & Rotations
You’ll see the Chiefs rest Jamaal Charles at running back, because he takes such a pounding during the regular season. The Chiefs will not, however, give a lot of rest to their first-string receivers, since Kansas City receivers failed to catch a single touchdown pass last year. This could work to the Chiefs’ favor, with first-level guys getting more reps.
The Cardinals will rest Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd at their receiver spots. They should also feel set with Andre Ellington at running back. Backup receivers John and Jaron Brown should get a lot of work, while backup running back Kerwynn Williams should get his share of touches as a ballcarrier. All in all, these offensive rotations should work in favor of the Chiefs, who need to find some better receivers this season.
Outlook & Pick
This is a close call, because the Chiefs need to find some players on offense and might play more players higher on the depth chart. However, Arizona and Arians also need to get some information out of this game. The Cardinals will probably play better in the second half and win.
NFL Pick: Cardinals -3 -105 at Bodog