Sunday Football Picks For Patriots vs. Cardinals Week 1 Matchup

New England Patriots Starting Garoppolo In Week 1

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, September 11, 2016 5:00 PM GMT

Sunday, Sep. 11, 2016 5:00 PM GMT

The New England Patriots travel to the desert without the services of superstar Tom Brady in their season opener. We can clearly see how his absence has affected the NFL odds in this one, as we try to find the sharp side.

Tom Terrific Takes a Seat
Patriots Nation has been engulfed in the offseason saga of Tom Brady’s battle with NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell. Though Brady’s cadre of high-priced legal eagles won the first round it was Goodell who scored the knockout in the subsequent proceedings. Thus, the three-ring circus known as Deflategate is in our rearview mirrors and Tom Terrific will be banished to his living room if he chooses to watch the first four games of the season. The fact is TB 12 will not don a Patriots uniform until Week 5 when the team travels to Cleveland, thus understudy Jimmy Garoppolo will be pressed into action.

The NFL Odds makers initially installed the high-flying Patriots as a pick’em way before the verdict was rendered that Brady’s suspension would not be vacated. That line has soared to Arizona -6 at the time of this writing and it appears it will hover in that vicinity until kickoff. But it must be noted that Garoppolo, though unproven, has demonstrated that his understanding of running a pro offense has expanded along with his physical talents.

More than likely this is just a pressure-packed four-game tryout to showcase his talents to an entire league with most of the franchises eager to find a top notch starting quarterback. Once Brady returns he will run the show and once again command the white hot spotlight that is Boston sports. Assuming all goes well, Garoppolo will be more than happy to be used as trade bait which will mean a starting job with a big, fat contract extension. New England will receive a draft pick commensurate with his performance in return and all will be well for both parties. It’s just business as usual in the NFL.


Betting Analysis
The Patriots will supply Sweet Jimmy G with an arsenal of offensive weapons, though their stellar running back until Week 9 of last season, Dion Lewis, required a second knee injury to help heal from a torn ACL which occurred back in November. Thus, the running backs for New England feature an amalgam of north-to-south runners led by LeGarrette Blount with no scat-back in sight. However, All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski will return to the fold along with slot receiver extraordinaire Julian Edelman and pesky pass catcher Danny Amendola. The Pats even added former Chicago Bears All-Pro TE Martellus Bennett to the mix and will see the return of smash-back James Devlin reestablishing the fullback role in the Patriots offense.

There is only one little issue with all of this besides an unproven signal caller under center. The Patriots offensive line has been a revolving door of injuries and disappointments. Dante Scarnecchia was brought back from retirement on bended knee by Belichick and the Patriots brass to bring some semblance of balance to the line. His influence will help but will it be enough against a ravenous Cardinals’ defensive front including former Patriots Chandler Jones who was traded in the offseason for New England’s newest O-Line addition Jonathan Cooper.

Let’s not overlook the fact that the Patriots own a top shelf defense of their own and have an absolute freak in Jamie Collins at linebacker. Their secondary got even better as they drafted Cyrus Jones as their first pick in the second-round (New England’s first-round pick was taken away in yet another draconian Deflategate penalty) and he has looked right at home since the inception of training camp. The men in the trenches for New England can compete at a level that’s almost the equal of their opponents on Sunday night - and that’s saying something.

Here’s a dirty little secret that the vast majority of bettors who are inclined to back the Arizona Cardinals in their NFL Picks are overlooking. Carson Palmer got old. The soon to be 37-year-old veteran has not looked crisp in the offseason and it looks as though he has lost quite a bit of zip on his fastball. Factor in that Larry Fitzgerald is no spring chicken himself and suddenly we have to wonder how the Cardinals will score points against this premier Patriots defense? I am going to double dip here with a play on the road dogs and under the posted total.

Free NFL Pick: Patriots +6 ½ at 5Dimes & Under 47 at Bovada

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