Green Bay (6-1) at Arizona (7-0)
When: Thursday, October 28th, 2021
Where: State Farm Stadium,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Arizona -3.5/52.5
After last Thursday’s horrible quarterback matchup between the Broncos and Browns, the NFL has gifted us with a great one this week. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers visit Kyler Murray and the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. This could actually be a preview of a playoff matchup down the road and could also go a long way in deciding who the No. 1 seed in the NFL will be. Arizona comes in as 6.5-point favorites due in part by the COVID outbreak within the Packers roster. The Cardinals are 7-0 for the first time since 1974 when they were in St. Louis and they have beaten some good teams. Last week was not one of those teams as the Cardinals demolished the Houston Texans 31-5. Fun fact: That was the first 31-5 final score in NFL history. Despite being the only 7-1 team in the league, Arizona has just a one-game edge over the 6-1 Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West, but the Cardinals handed them their only loss earlier this month 37-20 in L.A.
After getting scorched 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, the Pack have reeled-off six consecutive wins after a 24-10 home win versus Washington last week. Unfortunately, Green Bay will likely be without star receiver Davante Adams on Thursday. Adams tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be available unless he returns two negative tests prior to kickoff. Adams is tied for second in the NFL with 52 receptions and ranks third with 744 receiving yards. The Packers also will be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who is also out because of COVID-19 issues. Green Bay now must find away to stop an Arizona offense that’s averaging 32.1 points a game without their defensive play caller.
Green Bay had little trouble in Sunday’s win over Football Team as Rodgers threw three TD passes and 274 yards. He is now the fourth quarterback in NFL history with 70 career games with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 100-or-higher. Rodgers has passed for 1,710 yards, 15 touchdowns and three picks on the year. On Thursdays, Rodgers is 10-4 with 32 touchdown passes and five interceptions for a 107.8 rating. However, he won’t have his best weapons to throw to this week as we mentioned above including Allen Lazard. On short rest, the Packers might try and get the ground game going. Aaron Jones is one of the best backs in the league and wasn’t asked to do much last week. Jones ran the ball just 6 times for 19 yards and caught five passes for 20 yards.
Kyler Murray threw for 261 yards and three scores last week versus Houston after the Cardinals let the Texans gain a 5-0 lead. He is the only quarterback in the NFL with a passer rating of 100-or-higher in six games this season. Former Eagles Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz made his Arizona debut and grabbed one of Murray’s touchdown tosses. Coach Kliff Kingsbury returned from missing a game due to COVID and Arizona’s offense continues to soar. The Cardinals have scored 31 or more points in six of their seven games. Murray has passed for 2,002 yards and 17 touchdowns against five interceptions. It’s not a sure thing that Murray will have his favorite target on the field with wideout DeAndre Hopkins nursing a hamstring injury. Hopkins has 33 receptions for 420 yards and is tied for second in the NFL with seven touchdown catches. Defensive end J.J. Watt (shoulder) also is ailing, but Arizona will have star pass rusher Chandler Jones back after being on the COVID list. The Cardinals also get defensive end Zach Allen back from the COVID-19 list.
It’s very tempting to take Aaron Rodgers and almost a touchdown, but Covid has really hurt this roster. It will be even tougher to get ready for a really good Arizona team on short rest. Since 2006, teams that have to fly west for a Thursday night game are 1-13 straight-up and 1-12-1 against the spread. The Cardinals offense has not slowed down all season and Green Bay will be without their DC. I say Arizona wins this by a touchdown or more.
Pick: Cardinals -6.5
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