NFL Picks - Buccaneers vs. Cardinals Week 2 Odds & Game Predictions

Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald Leaning Towards To Catch Football

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, September 17, 2016 4:44 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 17, 2016 4:44 PM UTC

It's overreaction week, and one only has to look at the odds favoring Arizona this week versus last week - and the opposing team - to see where our NFL handicapper is going with this pick.

2016 NFL Record: 3-1, +1.90 Units

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona Cardinals  
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers try to follow up the first opening season road win against a division opponent since 1990 by traveling to the Arizona Cardinals for a Week 2 matchup. The Bucs won as a 3-point underdog as their offense showed some life under new coach, Dirk Koetter. The Cardinals are coming off of a very disappointing 23-21 loss as 9-point home favorites against the New England Patriots, which is actually not that surprising if one remembers that the Patriots have only lost 2 games by more than 8 points in the last 4 seasons. I had the Patriots pretty big on that game, and the first half performance by the Cardinals made it an easy win.

In this game the Cardinals also find themselves as home favorites, with the line sitting at 6.5 points at Bovada. The O/U total is discounting the Arizona defense and favoring the Tampa Bay offense, hanging a 50 across the board.

Jameis Winston had a good game at Atlanta even after he started cold in the first quarter, ending with a line of 23/33, 281 yards passing, and 4 touchdowns against one interception. The passing offense was positively explosive with 5 receivers averaging more than 10 yards per reception. Best on the day was Mike Evans, who hauled in 5 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. It was a good thing that the offense had a good day though, because the defense gave up 322 passing yards to the Falcons and 24 points. They had an injury on the defensive front very early in the game though, as Jacquies Smith tore his ACL on the first play he saw action on. Ouch.

The Cardinals got a player back from an ACL injury in Tyrann Mathieu, as the ‘Honey Badger’ was back in action and looking spry. But overall the defense was challenged in Week 1 as they gave up 106 running yards and 257 passing yards to the Patriots. LeGarrette Blount ground out 70 yards on 22 carries, and the smaller receivers for the Pats were able to dink and dunk their way to big gains on short passes in space. The Cardinals will have to deal with much bigger receiving threats against the Bucs, as Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Cameron Brate, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are all 6’-5” tall. Rookie cornerback, Brandon Williams had an especially rough night and was targeted often.

The Arizona offense proved to be rusty in their first regular season game of 2016, which was surprising given their dominance in 2015 on that side of the ball. The Cardinals scored more than 30 points 9 times in 2015, with much of the same personnel that they had last night on the field. The offensive line had an awful first half, allowing Carson Palmer to get sacked three times.

It’s overreaction week and in this case, I think it favors those backing the Arizona Cardinals. I mean, the Cardinals were 9-point favorites against a team that had lost by 9 points or more twice in 4 years last week with one of the best coaches in the NFL, and now they are just 6.5-point favorites against a Tampa Bay team coming off of a 6-10 season with a first year coach. I’m looking for the Cardinals to bounce back in a big way here and have no problem laying 6.5 points early in the week at Bovada as another Week 2 NFL Picks.                                      

Free NFL Picks: Cardinals -6.5 
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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