Gridiron guide: Arizona should go 5-0
John BoellJohn Boell
Boell has worked in the Newsday sports department in various
CARDINALS (4-0) at RAMS (2-2), 8:30 p.m.
Cardinals by 1; O/U: 391/2
TV: NFL Network, Ch. 11.
Radio: WFAN (660).
The NFL Network's Thursday night games date to the 2006 season. The last few years, the late-week contest has been like a poorly cooked meal: It doesn't look or taste good, and leaves one wishing for a different main course.
At first glance, that's how Thursday night's matchup may appear. But remember last week, folks? Cleveland, a 13-point underdog, gave Baltimore all it could handle and lost by only seven points.
I'm not sure if Thursday night's game will be that close, but it features one of three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL: Arizona. The Cardinals pulled a Houdini-type escape act last week in OT against Miami, while the Rams matched their win total from last season (2-14) and upset Seattle.
These are two of the best teams against the spread (ATS) in the early going (both are 3-1 ATS). But the Cardinals are 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs. the Rams, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in St. Louis. Overall, Arizona has won 10 of 11 against the Rams, and seven straight in St. Louis.
I won't be shocked if St. Louis plays well at home. It's a Thursday night staple: 13 of the last 17 Thursday night hosts have won,
But Arizona has the better defense (third-best 15.2 ppg) that features talented CB and PR Patrick Peterson (3 INTs, 13.9 punt-return average, 4 TDs in 20 career games). I can't bet against the Cards, who are an NFL-best 11-2 in their last 13 regular-season games.
THE PICK: Cardinals