Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Sunday, October 27, 2013, 4:25 Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Arizona -2 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -2 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 46
Opening Money Line: Cardinals -145 / Falcons +125
Current Money Line: Cardinals -140 / Falcons +120
After having the best record in the NFC last season, the Atlanta Falcons find themselves at 2-4 and in third place in the NFC South. The Falcons travel to the 3-4 Arizona Cardinals Sunday. The Cardinals are also in third place in their division the NFC West. Since 2001, Atlanta leads the series against Arizona 5-2. The Falcons won last year in Atlanta 23-19. The two teams met in the 2009 NFC Wild Card playoffs and the Cardinals won that game at home 30-24.
Atlanta is coached by Mike Smith. The Falcons have home wins over the St. Louis Rams 31-24 and last week against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23. That win snapped a 3 game losing streak for the Falcons all to AFC East teams. Atlanta has road losses at the New Orleans Saints 23-17 and the Miami Dolphins 27-23, along with home losses to the New England Patriots 30-23 and New York Jets 30-28. The Falcons are 2-4 ATS and the total is 5-1 this season. Atlanta was a 6 point favorite at home against the Buccaneers and the total went way over 43.
The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the Buccaneers and would lead 24-10 at halftime. The Buccs pulled to within 24-17 in the third quarter but Atlanta regained the 14 point advantage in the fourth 31-17. Tampa Bay would add two field goals to make it 31-23 with 1:55 left, but they didn’t recover the onside kick. Atlanta ran out the clock to secure the much needed win. The Falcons had 291 total yards including 273 passing yards. Atlanta had 18 rushing yards on 18 attempts. The Buccaneers had 337 total yards including 227 passing yards. Each team had a turnover and over 100 penalty yards.
Atlanta is being outscored 26.2-25.5 this season. The Falcons are #9 in scoring and #23 in points allowed. Atlanta is averaging 374.7 yards per game including 306.3 passing yards and 68.3 rushing yards. The Falcons are #9 in total offense and #3 in passing, but #30 in rushing. On defense, Atlanta is allowing 366.3 total yards including 266.7 passing and 99.7 rushing yards. The Falcons are -2 in turnovers. Atlanta is 31/75 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 43/90. The Falcons have forced 14 sacks and allowed 9 this season. Atlanta averages 29:52 time of possession. The Falcons have 2 defensive touchdowns this season. Atlanta averages 56 penalty yards per game and opponents average 57.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 70.1% of his passes for 1,922 yards with 13 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has been sacked 9 times this season. Running back Steven Jackson injured his hamstring in week 2 and has been out since then. He is probable to return against the Cardinals. That should help the woeful rushing attack. Jackson has 14 carries for 77 yards, along with 6 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Jacquizz Rodgers has 60 carries for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 25 catches, 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jason Snelling has 35 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown, along with 16 catches, 134 yards and 2 interceptions. Snelling is out Sunday with an ankle injury.
Receiver Julio Jones is out for the season with a broken foot. He had 41 catches for 580 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Tony Gonzales has 35 catches, 369 yards and 3 touchdowns. Harry Douglas has 23 catches, 368 and a touchdown. Roddy White has 14 catches for 129 yards but will miss Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Rookie tight end Levine Toilolo has only 5 catches but two of them went for touchdowns. Fifteen Falcons are listed on the injury report including 6 defensive players.
Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The Cardinals have road losses at the St. Louis Rams 27-24, the New Orleans Saints 31-7, and the San Francisco 49ers 32-20, along with a home loss last Thursday to the Seattle Seahawks 34-22. Arizona has home wins over the Detroit Lions 25-21, and the Carolina Panthers 22-6, along with a road win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. Arizona is 4-3 ATS and the total is 3-4 this season. The Cardinals were 4.5 point underdogs at home to the Seahawks and the total was 41.
Seattle took an early 14-0 lead against Arizona, and the Seahawks would lead 17-10 at halftime. Seattle expanded the lead to 31-13 in the third quarter. After they exchanged field goals to start the fourth, the Cardinals scored a late touchdown but missed the two point conversion to make the final 34-22. Seattle had 344 total yards including 135 rushing yards. The Cardinals had 234 total yards including 204 passing yards. Each team had 2 turnovers and the Seahawks had 10 penalties for 70 yards.
Arizona is being outscored 23-19 this season. The Cardinals are averaging 309.7 yards per game including 232 passing and 77.7 rushing yards. Arizona is 25th or worse in total, scoring and rushing offense. On defense, the Cardinals are allowing 349.7 total yards per game including 252.7 passing and 97 rushing yards. Arizona is #7 in rush defense. The Cardinals are -2 in turnovers. Arizona is 29/91 on third and fourth down conversions. Cardinal opponents are 39/96 on third and fourth down conversions. Arizona has forced 19 sacks and allowed 20 this season. The Cardinals are averaging 28:35 on time of possession. Arizona has one defensive touchdown and has allowed one also. The Cardinals average 44 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 62.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 60.5% of his passes for 1,741 yards with 8 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has been sacked 20 times this season. Running back Rashard Mendenhall has 92 carries, 281 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 66 yards. He is out with a toe injury. Andre Ellington has 28 carries for 179 yards and a touchdown, along with 20 catches, 190 yards and a touchdown. Alfonso Smith has 18 carries, 54 yards and a touchdown, plus 9 catches for 62 yards. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 32 catches, 422 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Michael Floyd has 31 catches for 403 yards and a touchdown. Andre Roberts has 19 catches for 183 yards. Arizona has 21 players listed on the injury report including 10 defensive players. Kicker Jay Feely is probable with a quad injury.
Atlanta is 5-1 ATS in Week 8, 4-1 against teams with losing home records, 5-2 in October, 5-2-1 on grass, 15-7-1 against teams with losing records, 2-5 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 2-7 overall, 1-4 after a straight up win and after a cover, and 1-4-1 in road games. The over is 8-2 in this series recently including 5-0 in Arizona.
Arizona is 4-0 ATS against teams with losing records, 6-1 after rushing for 90 yards or less, 5-1 after failing to cover and after allowing 30 points or more, 4-1 after a straight up loss and after a double digit home loss, 8-3 after gaining less than 250 total yards, 3-10 in week 8, and 2-10-1 in October.
Despite all of the injuries, I can’t see Atlanta losing this game. They still have a lot of talent and the return of Jackson will help. Every game they lost this season was by 7 points or less, and to four teams that are playoff contenders. Arizona struggles on offense, and I see the Falcons winning on the road.