The Cardinals and Steelers collide in week 6 for what should be a highly entertaining clash to spot on your NFL picks. Here’s our breakdown, complete with NFL odds & prediction.
Arizona Cardinals (4-1 SU, 2-0 away)
The Arizona Cardinals are flying high this season behind a 4-1 SU and ATS record, highlighted by a whopping 20-point margin of victory. On the road, they are undefeated with a 2-0 SU and ATS recorded, highlighted by an even larger 25-point winning margin. Both those road wins were road chalk wins by the Cardinals – 48-23 over the Bears as the nominal 2-point road faves in week 2 and 42-17 over the Lions as the 2.5-point road faves in week 5. To date, the only hiccup was a shocking 24-20 home upset to the Rams in week 4.
By the numbers, the Cardinals are the highest scoring team in the NFL with 38-points per game. They are fifth in total offense with 1965 yards, which includes a tenth ranked passing offense that is putting up 258.2 yards per game and a third ranked running offense that is putting up 134.8 yards per game.
Looking at just Carson Palmer’s production this season, he’s an impressive sixth in total yards amongst offensive leaders this season with 1,316 yards. He’s third with 8.89 average yards per pass attempt and top of the table with 13 TD’s, three INT and seven sacks.
Despite all these heady numbers, the NFL odds board listings continue to post the Cardinals anywhere from a 1-to-3-point spread, albeit to the good on the road. Obviously, the Cardinals may not be quite the sexy NFL pick as Patriots are, but they’re holding their own on the stats sheet. As such, they continue to leap off the page as a smart NFL pick in our books.
Case-and-point, they enter week 6 NFL betting as the 3-point road chalk. Granted they are favoured over the Steelers, which is no mean feat. But the Steelers are without Big Ben right now, and although they did manage to win their last game, which was a road game in San Diego, Michael Vick left much to be desired for the better part of the game; not until the last few minutes did he really step up by executing an engineered play by Big Ben to set up Le’Veon Bell with the game winning touchdown with a nanosecond left on the clock.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2, 1-1 home)
The Steelers improved to 3-2 SU behind the win in San Diego and return home looking to continue their winning form. That they showed they can win without Big Ben on the field might be a source of encouragement for their fans, but even they must share in the realism that the Arizona Cardinals present a much tougher ask.
As mentioned above, the Cardinals have been solid on both sides of the ball and have served up lopsided wins in four of their five games this season. They’ve outscored opponents 190-to-90 for a +100 differential, the best in the league. This means Michael Vick will need to be much sharper than he was against the Chargers if he’s to hang on their coattails.
Cardinals defense is no slouch: 13th in total defense with 1663 yards allowed, 13th against the pass with235.2 yards allowed per game and 11th against the rush with 97.4 yards allowed per game. How Vick holds up under the constant pressure of the Cards remains to be seen.
NFL Betting Verdict: Even without Big Ben, the Steelers are a solid team. Heck, we were all over them for our MNF picks both SU and ATS. This week, however, we can’t help but crush on the Cardinals to continue their solid form. On paper, these teams are well matched and should deliver quite the contest. The clincher for us is the quarterback. Carson Palmer is more consistent and trustworthy than Michael Vick. That’s not to say, Vick can’t put in a vintage performance that harks back to his heyday – he’s after all a former No.1 draft pick. The Cardinals still would have the edge in our books because they are a well-oiled machine, coached by the quiet genius of Bruce Arian. Take the Cards to cover as the road chalk on your NFL picks.
NFL Picks: Cardinals -3 (-115) at 5Dimes