Week 3 NFL Picks and Predictions: Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
Odds courtesy of Bovada
New Orleans is off to a hot start, and if the Saints win this matchup as NFL oddsmakers at Bovada predict, they’ll begin the season 3-0. Fans may remember, the last time NO did that, the Saints ended up winning the Superbowl in 2009. Despite winning 16-14 over Tampa Bay last week, the Saints have a lot of concerns about their offensive line which allowed Drew Brees to be sacked four times by a Tampa Bay defense which is lackluster, to say the least.
Nevertheless, the Saints find themselves 7-point favorites against an Arizona Cardinals team that may be without its greatest playmaker in WR Larry Fitzgerald. For a team heavily reliant on the pass and Carson Palmer’s arm, not having the best pass option is a serious detriment. Palmer has been a major upgrade this season and has thrown for 60.8 percent completion, but he’s been sacked five times and boasts a QB rating of just 85.
A lack of options in the backfield is partly to blame, though Rashard Mendenhall has done a decent job rushing the ball (61.5 yards per game, average of 4.1 yards per carry). Expect Andre Roberts to have a lot thrown his way, whether Fitzgerald suits up or not. Roberts leads the Cardinals in receptions and yardage, while Fitzgerald sits just behind him. Adding third receiving Michael Floyd (7 receptions, 104 yards) accounts for a potent pass attack, but New Orleans has defended the pass very well this season (8th; 196 ypg).
The fact that the Saints have faced two teams that rely on the rush comes into play here (Tampa Bay and Atlanta), but the secondary is strong and Arizona will have a lot of trouble generating offense with the lack of diversification in their play schemes. Expect an effort to get Mendenhall some early touches to open up the offense. New Orleans is too good defensively to allow Carson Palmer to systematically pick the secondary apart.
4-0 ATS in last 4 after less than 90 rushing yards previous week; OVER 6-1 in last 7 vs NFC; OVER 5-1 in last 6 following ATS win
4-0 ATS in last 4 after allowing 150+ rushing yards previous week; UNDER 5-0 in last 5 after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing; 17-5 ATS in last 22 home games
Head-to-head: Home team 4-0 ATS in last 4 games; OVER 4-0 in last 4.