Last week, while I was co-hosting VSIN’s “Follow The Money” program with Paulie Howard, the Sunday night Seahawks-Cardinals game was a main topic of conversation with several guests. Most (including myself) were not “buying” in on the Big Red, citing previous wins over the troubled Jets and Cowboys by a combined 68-20 scoreline as being scant evidence for an endorsement.
Sometimes, however, handicappers outthink themselves; there should rarely be a downgrade for a win. After all, what is a good team supposed to do against a bad team? The answer is to take care of business, exactly what Arizona did vs. New York and Dallas.
Then the Cardinals promptly reminded any remaining doubters that they need to be taken seriously in the NFC West when they rallied to a thrilling overtime win while dealing Seattle its first loss in the process.
It was important in the playoff race, too, as it improved the Big Red to 2-0 vs. division foes (the 49ers were previously conquered on opening day), giving Kliff Kingsbury’s side a leg up on tiebreakers, at least vs. the Seahawks and Niners.
Still offered at 5/1 at BetMGM to win the division, Arizona is suddenly looking like awfully good value, especially as Kyler Murray is emerging into the sort of force that Lamar Jackson was for the Ravens a year ago, terrorizing opposing defenses with his arm and legs after accounting for 427 total yards and four touchdowns vs. Pete Carroll’s defense.
Meanwhile, Vance Joseph’s Arizona stop unit is emerging as a big-play platoon that has made adjustments since the injury to edge-rusher deluxe Chandler Jones.
The upcoming slate does not look overly daunting, with consecutive home games after this weekend’s well-placed bye, and a couple of more games remaining vs. foes from the weak NFC East. Recently struggling Buffalo and New England, both on deck in later November, do not look as menacing as they did earlier in the season, either.
Sunday night’s win over the Seahawks suggests the Big Red could be for real, and it might be a good idea to take advantage before the oddsmakers and wagering public come to the same conclusion.
The play: Cardinals to win the NFC West, 5/1 at BetMGM.
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