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Thursday Night Football Preview: Packers at Cardinals

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One of the most highly anticipated Thursday night games of the NFL season kicks off tonight at 8:20 Eastern Time. The Green Bay Packers travel south to take on the red-hot Arizona Cardinals. Green Bay is 6-1 while Arizona is a perfect 7-0.

Oddsmakers currently make Arizona a 6.5 point favorite and the total is at 51 points. Can Green Bay pull off the road upset and hand Arizona its first loss of the season? Let’s break down each team and give out our Best Bet for this fabulous matchup.

Packers vs. Cardinals Defense

After an awful Week 1 performance against New Orleans, Aaron Rodgers has been back in his usual MVP form. The 37-year-old has thrown for 1,710 yards and 15 TDs while only throwing 3 INTs. The former Cal star ranks third in the NFL in quarterback rating with a score of 66.3.

One obstacle for Green Bay is that they will likely be without their best receiver, as Davante Adams was recently placed on the COVID-19 list. Will Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb be able to pick up the slack for the receiving corps? With Adams likely to miss this game, Green Bay may lean more on RB Aaron Jones, who has 404 rushing yards and 2 TDs this season.

The Arizona defense does a great job of pressuring the QB so Rodgers may have to keep an eye on Markus Golden and Chandler Jones, who have combined for 11 sacks. One weakness of the Cardinals’ defense is that they don’t play the run very well, as evidenced by their 31st ranking in yards per rush allowed (teamrankings.com). Even with those poor numbers on rush defense, this unit has an uncanny ability to get off the field on third down.

Cardinals Offense vs. Packers Defense

Kyler Murray has improved by leaps and bounds as an NFL QB. The former Heisman winner has thrown for 2,002 yards and 17 TDs while also finding the end zone three times on the ground. Murray leans on veteran WR DeAndre Hopkins, who has caught 33 passes for 420 yards and 7 TDs.

Chase Edmunds and James Connor form a nice combination at the running back position for the Cards. Arizona ranks 5th in the NFL with 136.6 rushing yards per game. That could bode well against a Green Bay defense that ranks 30th in yards per rush allowed.

Though they struggle a bit against the run, the Packers do a splendid job of defending the pass. This unit ranks 5th in yards per pass and that shows that they are adept at limiting big plays. De’Vondre Campbell leads this Packers defense with 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.

Our Pick: Packers +6.5

This is too many points to give a talented Green Bay squad in a primetime standalone game. We think this point spread is an overreaction to the Packers possibly not having Davante Adams in this game. 

This point spread opened at Arizona -3 a few days ago. Adams is an amazing receiver but is he worth three and a half points? We think there’s plenty of value in Green Bay tonight so take the points. Good luck!

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