Week 7; Thursday Night Football; #Saints vs. #BirdCityFootball

I think it’s fair to say that six weeks of football is a pretty big sample size and after a third of the season we are on course for the lowest scoring season in the NFL since 2009 (points per game). Just like that 2009 season, 12 teams are scoring under 20 points per game this year. Which is a stat that becomes even more ridiculous when you look at who some of these teams are (Titans, Cardinals, Cowboys, Packers, Rams, Texans, Panthers, Colts, Commanders, Steelers, Bears, Broncos). 

That list obviously includes a lot of bad teams that we expected to be bad but we should not be seeing the likes of the Rams, Packers, Cardinals, Broncos or Cowboys on there (they don’t get a pass for the Dak injury as they were the top scoring team in football last year). The standard of quarterback play has definitely been a factor for most of these 12 teams and almost all of them, except those mentioned above, will be looking for a new quarterback next season.  

Unfortunately, for the third week in a row we have a Thursday Night football matchup featuring one of these 12 underperforming teams with the Cardinals hosting the Saints.

New Orleans Saints +2.5 @ Arizona Cardinals: 43.5

It feels like every Friday morning we all make the same joke that at least next weeks Thursday night game will be better and the answer this week is, probably…

The Saints and Cardinals will have both, rightly or wrongly, had high hopes for this season and both find themselves at 2-4 and scrambling to hold their season together. The Saints haven’t hit the self-destruct button just yet but a loss tonight and they would not be far away, meanwhile it has become a matter of when, not if, the Cardinals move on from Kliff Kingsbury (he is currently the odds on favourite to be the next coach to be fired). 

Saints

Although it hasn’t been made official, it seems as though Andy Dalton will remain the starter for the Saints in this game even with Winston back available. In Dalton’s three starts the Saints have totalled 90 points and even though he has only thrown three touchdowns he has done a fine job of managing the offense in Winston’s absence. His passing line is 217.5 tonight and I would certainly be leaning the under on that given the lack of receiving options.

Chris Olave should be back to boost that receiving corps but Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry will both be missing again. Byron Murphy has done a great job for the Cardinals in shutting down opposing WR1’s and so I will be taking the under on Olave’s line of 60.5 yards (some places go as high as 63.5). Murphy has held the likes of Cooper Kupp, AJ Brown, Davante Adams and DK Metcalf to around 30 yards a game and as the Saints don’t really have anyone else, he will likely be focussed on Olave tonight. The over on Juwan Johnson’s lines of 2.5 receptions and 26.5 yards might be worth a look if Dalton has to look elsewhere.  

With Dalton under centre, Alvin Kamara has been seeing a lot more of the ball with over 20 carries and six catches a game. He is evens to go over 15.5 carries in this game which is another bet I’d take as the Saints are averaging over 30 rushes a game with Dalton at QB. If we get news that Winston is starting I’d probably avoid though. 

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Cardinals

If there is one team that sums up the offensive struggles throughout the league this season, it’s the Cardinals. Until Sunday they hadn’t managed any first quarter points this season and after overcoming that by scoring a whopping three against the Seahawks, they failed to score any more offensive points all game against a bottom two defense. 

They thought things were about to get better this week with the return of DeAndre Hopkins and then Marquise Brown picked up a foot injury that looks set to rule him out for six weeks. Robbie Anderson was acquired in a trade to cover for the missing Brown but he’s unlikely to have much of a role in this game. 

Kyler Murray is historically a much better quarterback with Hopkins in the team and the Cardinals were 8-2 last season with Hopkins. But I’m still leaning under on pretty much all of the passing and receiving game totals for the Cardinals tonight due to how dysfunctional they have looked this year. Zach Ertz is probably the only reliable thing about this offense at the moment and I like him to have over 4.5 receptions

James Conner is a game time decision and in all likelihood is going to miss this game, but there aren’t any props available for the Cardinals running backs at the moment. 

Who wins?

The Cardinals have not won a home game in almost a year and Kyler Murray is 0-3 on Thursday games, not to mention the new Call of Duty is out tonight for those that pre-ordered. We haven’t seen any evidence in recent weeks that things are about to change for the Cardinals so I will be taking the Saints

It’s a Thursday night game so we have to take the under on the total of 43.5 points as well but I do think it will be closer to that figure than we have seen in recent weeks. 

The Paddy Power Turbo price of Kamara 50+ rushing yards, 25+ receiving yards and 1+ TD’s looks good value at 9/2. 

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