All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson returns to Arizona to lead his new Vikings teammates against his old Cardinals team.
The Vikings Week 1 loss is hard to figure out. When Kirk Cousins plays well, they usually win. And they should win against a team like the Bengals. He was 36-of-49 for 351 yards and two touchdowns, yet somehow they managed to lose the game in overtime.
Dalvin Cook only ran for 3.0 ypc, but otherwise, all of the Minnesota stars played well. It was the exact kind of game they always win, if not for the exceptional way that Joe Burrow has rebounded from his ACL tear to end last season.
Although even more unexpected than the game Burrow played is the fact that Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, a previous point spread killer, has now failed to cover the spread in eight consecutive games.
Sometimes football is weird.
Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)
While the Vikings were supposed to win last week and didn’t, the Cardinals were supposed to take their first loss at Tennessee. Kyler Murray and company had other ideas as they put a beatdown on the Titans, 38-13. And if it’s possible for a 25-point win to not even be that close, this was that game.
The Vikings’ defense will be better than the hot-knife-through-butter defense that Tennessee played. But even a great defense was not going to stop Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Randale Moore, and Chase Edmonds – all Cardinals who had big days.
And oh yeah, there was a guy named Chandler Jones who finished with five sacks. We were excited to see Jones and J.J. Watt play together, and the early returns are fantastic. And it’s not just this defensive front that played great. Everyone had a hand in shutting down a good Tennessee offense.
This is the offense that we always knew head coach Kliff Kingsbury could get out of Kyler Murray. He’s playing point guard with a fast break offense that can score at any time and from anywhere on the field. We’ve seen flashes before. Now, all that needs to happen is a repeat performance, which is doable against Minnesota.
More of a factor, however, is the Cardinals’ defense. The Bengals got to Kirk Cousins three times, and their pass rush isn’t nearly as good as Arizona’s. Both Jones and Watt have over 100 career sacks, and they will feast on Cousins. There will be at least five sacks by Arizona, and Cousins throws his first interception(s) of the season.
The Cardinals win by at least a touchdown.
Both teams hit 51 total points last week, and with both teams facing better defenses in Week 2, it would be unlikely to see them go over the 51.0 totals line.
The Cardinals have gone under in six of their last eight games, and as the team who will dictate the tempo of this game, the under is once again the better bet.