Season-Saver for Cardinals-Saints TNF Winner

Another week, another Thursday Night Football matchup between two teams performing below expectation and trying to turn their seasons around. This week’s installment will feature a couple of 2-4 teams as the New Orleans Saints head into Glendale to take on the Arizona Cardinals. Here are some key points to look for in determining this Thursday’s outcome.

Injury Impact

Both teams here are beat up from Sunday’s action and will be without key players. The Cardinals lost a pair of offensive starters for the season on Sunday in left guard Justin Pugh and wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. At receiver, the team traded for Carolina’s Robbie Anderson, but he will not be available for Thursday’s matchup.

Luckily, Arizona will be getting back the services of star WR DeAndre Hopkins this week, as his suspension is finished. The team has also listed all three running backs as questionable. Of James Conner, Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams, only Benjamin has participated in practice in a limited fashion this week. All three will likely serve a very limited role at max in Thursday night’s game.

For the Saints, key players they expect to be without include wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, as well as cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton are both listed as questionable. Both have practiced in a limited capacity, so the team hopes at least one will be ready to take snaps under center. Overall, this group of players is definitely a much more impactful one in comparison to Arizona’s and should have much more of an impact on the game.

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Saints Run into Cardinals Run Defense

New Orleans ranks seventh in the NFL with an average of 151.5 rushing yards per game. They are tied for third with eight rushing touchdowns. They could be without backup running back Mark Ingram for this game, but will have leading rushers Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill.

The Saints’ backs will be tasked with the challenge this week of facing a similarly seventh-ranked Cardinals run defense that allows just 103.8 yards a game on the ground. In what will be a clash of two dominant forces, we can call this one a push. Both sides will show flashes of excellence but ultimately neither will overpower the other.

Cardinals Dominate Saints Secondary

As was previously mentioned, star DeAndre Hopkins will be back for Arizona and will attempt to take advantage of a week in which Saints’ Lattimore is out. QB Kyler Murray (l.) will also have WRs Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch as well as tight end Zach Ertz to throw to. That group, along with pre-injury Brown, ranks 17th in the league with 226.7 yards average per game through the air.

Not only will the Cards have Hopkins back, but they are also facing a Saints’ secondary that ranks 16th in the NFL in allowing 222 passing yards/game and will be without its best player for this matchup. Arizona has the clear edge here and should be effective in the air.

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Cardinals Handle Saints at Home

The Cardinals are a better team than the Saints and New Orleans has too many injuries. This line should not be nearly as small as -1.5, but take what you can get and run with it. Maybe even consider changing the spread to -3 or -6 for some extra juice. Arizona shouldn’t have much of a problem taking care of business at home.

Games are going under at an all-time high rate this season, especially on prime time and even more so specifically on Thursday night. Both teams are expecting to be either without several key offensive weapons or featuring them in a limited role. Most of the offense should come from Arizona, but there doesn’t figure to be enough offensive output to get past 44 points. Ride the trend and stay under for this one. Enjoy the game, hopefully it’s more exciting than the last two Thursday night matchups have been.

Prediction: Cardinals -1.5 (-110 at Golden Nugget)

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History Playbook

On This Day In Sports History

June 3, 1995 — Pitching for the Montreal Expos, Pedro Martinez retires the first 27 batters to face him in 10 innings and defeats the Padres 1-0 in San Diego.

On This Day In Sports History

June 4, 1974 — Trailing the Texas Rangers 5-3, Cleveland scores 2x in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Two fans rush Texas right fielder Jeff Burroughs, causing others to storm the field. The umpires declare the game a forfeit to Texas.