New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) (o/u 43.5)
|When||Thursday, October 20th, 8:15 pm EST|
|Where||State Farm Stadium
|How to Watch||Amazon Prime|
Should You Cancel Amazon Prime?
Your crack team of mercurial analysts has emerged from the midweek malaise to give you the hottest picks for a Thursday Night thumper between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals. The last two TNF games have featured frustrated offenses and middling defenses in low scoring affairs that have made us googling how to cancel your prime membership forever. This game may feature some offense and, at the very least, Kliff Kingsbury can’t wear sunglasses at night. Or can he?
|Thru Week 6 Records||Wins||Losses||Push||Winning %|
Metrics Don’t Lie (Or Do They?)
Jack: At first glance, the under here (43.5) doesn’t seem like the best wager. Arizona has a reputation for scoring and New Orleans has enough weapons to make explosive plays downfield. That’s a conventional take, because everyone associates the Cardinals with a hyper efficient offense, but that’s not the case this year.
The Cardinals have struggled to recreate the Kyler Murray magic through the first five weeks of the 2022 season. According to Football Outsiders, the Cards rank 20th in DOVA for total offense and 24th in DVOA for passing offense. So much for the deep attack. They can run the ball effectively, as long as it’s Kyler making plays with his legs. Cardinals RB James Conner hasn’t been very useful this year, so you can’t count on the run game to move the ball with any consistency.
The Fun Stats
Here are some other fun Kyler stats. The boys at FTNFantasy show Kyler ranked seventh in the league in air yards (the amount of yards a ball traveled through the air from the line of scrimmage to the point of contact). This means the man can throw it. We know that.
His aDOT (average depth of target) is 6.57 yards. Murray isn’t throwing the deep ball as much this year. (For reference, Murray’s aDOT in 2021 was 7.49). A lower aDOT should translate into a higher completion percentage and for Murray this is true (65%), but the offense can’t quite seem to use Murray’s success in the shorter passing game into touchdowns. Their third down conversion rate is 34% (28th) and their red zone scoring is 50% (20th). Arizona averages 2.2 touchdowns per game (20th). This is an offense with an elite quarterback that can’t find the end zone.
The Saints defense doesn’t scare anyone, but I think Dennis Allen’s unit will create enough pressure on Murray to flush him out of the pocket and wait for him to make a bad decision. I don’t have much faith in the Saints offense, either, so I love taking the under here. Teams are usually banged up from a short week on Thursday Night, which makes the under a tempting wager. I’ll roll with that and if you’re feeling good, go ahead and take the Saints. The Cards are toast at home. Pick: Under Total Points (+/- 43.5)
Kliff Kingsbury Needs to Start Updating his LinkedIn Profile
Nate: We’d been saying all season that Matt Rhule wouldn’t make it until Thanksgiving as head coach of the Panthers. We were correct.
The next target we have for a mid-season vacation and job search is Kliff Kingsbury. He was hired to guide Kyler Murray into a gunslinging leader of a high scoring offense, and they have been anything but that this season.
Kingsbury has struggled to cover when his teams are favored, and that is the situation they find themselves in here. The Saints aren’t the picture of health as a team and they have a long list of injuries that may hamper them.
The Cardinals looked totally pedestrian as an offense against a horrible Seattle defense. New Orleans brings a stronger defense into this contest. Arizona is coming in on a short week, so I can’t imagine they’ve fixed their woes in this turnaround.
These Thursday games have had a well-deserved reputation as very ugly viewing experiences. This one may be no different. But I’ll be working at the bar and I hate not having action on these games when I’m at work. I’ll take the points in another ugly one. Pick: Saints +2.5.
Bonus Pick for the Truly Sick
Nate: If you hate watching bad NFL teams play, or if you’ve already canceled your Prime membership, perhaps I can offer you an ugly college game to wager your hard earned dollars on instead.
At 7:30 EST tonight, you’ll have an opportunity to get down on the Virginia/Georgia Tech game which will be airing on ESPN. The Cavaliers are a field goal underdog.
These teams aren’t a ton of fun to watch, but there is a value here with Virginia. Their strength as a team is rushing the ball and playing good defense.
Virginia’s secondary is the strength of their team. Overall, this is just a bad matchup for Georgia Tech as they struggle to defend the run. This is a game where the strength of Virginia’s rushing attack should cause problems for a vulnerable front seven on the Georgia Tech side. A field goal feels like a gift here, and I’ll take it. If nothing else, this will take your mind off the other game. Pick: Virginia +3