San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals 2011 NFL Predictions

San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Saturday, 8/27/11, 10:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  San Diego -3
Current Betting Line:  San Diego -3
Opening Total:  39
Current Total:  41.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb will make his 2011 season debut in front of the home faithful tonight

San Diego is coming off a 20-7 road win over the Dallas Cowboys last week as one-point underdogs and now will be favored for the first time on the road tonight.  The Chargers have been out-gained in both of their contest thus far, including by 74 yards in Week 2 by the Cowboys.  Head coach Norv Turner intends to play his starters for an extended period of time Saturday night, possibly into the third quarter.  “The offensive starters last week got 37 plays before the end of the second quarter,” commented Turner.  “You look for the most continuity in the third game.  The starters play more.”  San Diego is 20-13 ATS on the road during the preseason.

The Chargers defense will be tested in this contest by a strong opposing offense, as the secondary is eager to face Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  San Diego was the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL during the 2010 season.  Offensively, the team has been working on throwing the ball more early in games as well as in the red zone.  The offensive starters have done the following on five possessions thus far:  touchdown, punt, field goal, touchdown, touchdown.  Another key to avoiding another slow start to the 2011 season is turnovers, as the team didn’t turn the ball over last week against the Cowboys.

Arizona has played consecutive games on the road to start the 2011 preseason and now comes home to University of Phoenix Stadium to host San Diego and Denver before hosting Carolina in the season opener on Sept. 11.  The Cardinals have certainly made some noise during the offseason, especially with acquiring quarterback Kevin Kolb from Philadelphia, who is glad to be in the desert.  “I’m, glad I’m stepping into a team like that rather than a team that won maybe 12 football games last year,” he commented.  “The intensity of this camp is better than I’ve been in before.”  Arizona is 2-2 ATS in preseason home games the last two years.

The Cardinals have definitely noticed a different between this year’s camp and ones of the past, as head coach Ken Whisenhunt has preached to his players to focus.  “Our guys worked hard last year in camp,” Whisenhunt stated.  “We had some things that didn’t go the way we wanted them to.”  A key concern for the team in tonight’s contest and moving forward is depth at the running back position.  Rookie Ryan Williams suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee during last week’s 28-20 loss to Green Bay.  He was in line to back up starter Beanie Wells, which is now being handed to LaRod Stephens-Howling.

Bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 1-0 ATS mark as a home underdog of three points or less, while the Chargers are 2-3 ATS as a favorite.

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