Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview
Where: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Georgia
When: Saturday, August 26, 2017 – 7:00 PM ET
Line: Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5); total 43.5 – view all NFL lines
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Betting on the Arizona Cardinals
Similar to their disappointing 2016 campaign, the Cardinals are having an uninspiring start to 2017. They dropped to 1-2 in the preseason following the 24-23 loss to the Chicago Bears this past Sunday, and once again allowed 100-plus yards on the ground. The pass-rush also failed to provide damage for the third-straight week, as it only has four sacks in its last three games.
There’s plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments, and we should see it improve in the coming weeks, particularly when it’s the first-team defense that’s taking the field more and more.
The offense, meanwhile, can still be expected to have probable number one backup Blaine Gabbert as the most used quarterback. The seventh-year veteran has 416 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in three preseason games, and is completing 62.5 percent of his passes.
Gabbert should be able to have better numbers if his backfield can play better. With David Johnson seeing limited action, the rest of the Cards’ other backs are just gaining three yards per carry (80 carries for 241 yards).
Betting on the Atlanta Falcons
Another week, another collapse. This weekend, the Falcons AGAIN faltered in the crucial stages, as they head to the break with a double-digit lead and returned like they were a completely different squad, going scoreless in the second half and eventually losing, 17-13, to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As they try to get out of this seemingly contagious funk, look for Matt Simms to remain as a key QB. The second-generation player has been widely used in the two previous exhibition contests despite underwhelming performances – 150.5 yards per game, 51-percent completion rate, and one interception. Should he be given a lighter load, though, Matt Schaub and/or Alex Torgesen will be taking his place, with official starter Matt Ryan still only playing very minimal snaps.
Terron Ward, meanwhile, will be the most interesting player of the offense. He’s been sharing the rushing duties with a handful of backs, but he’s still able to show flashes of his potential when called upon, as seen in his quietly-efficient 85 yards for 20 carries (4.2 YPC) in two games.
The defense is another area ought to show improvement, as quite evident in the pair of defeats. The pass defense is commendable with its four interceptions, but the initial pressure in the line of scrimmage is non-existent, as they only have eight tackles for loss and four QB hits in the preseason (one sack).
The Cardinals (+3.5) win, 23-20.
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