After two hits in a row on the Week 13 and Week 14 parlays, we’re this close to catching fire—so long as the Arizona Cardinals bring the heat with them from the desert.
But no, really, the Cardinals are in need of getting back on course in their bid for the NFC West title after losing an uber-important game on Monday Night Football last week to the team right on their heels: the Los Angeles Rams. And what better team to get things right against than the depleted 1-11-1 Detroit Lions?
As if getting run all over by the Denver Broncos wasn’t enough a week ago, losing Jerry Jacobs—one of the best stories of the year for this Lions team—felt like a blow below the belt. As if the Lions hadn’t had enough bad luck with injuries this season, especially to young and promising players like Frank Ragnow, Jeff Okudah, and Romeo Okwara, it had to happen to a player who went from the peripherals of this roster back in August to one of its most productive players week in and week out in Jacobs.
So with that, Detroit feels short-handed in a way that feels even direr than a week ago with their flu outbreak leading up to the game against Denver. Detroit’s without one of the few remaining bright spots of this roster’s defense, and even though this coaching staff deserves their fair share of credit in the development and productivity of Jacobs, it’s hard to ask this coaching staff to continue to find diamonds in the rough when they’ve been mining all season long at almost every position.
Now, the important question: what does this all have to do with how to wager on this football game? It’s all about Arizona’s offense in this week’s matchup, and I don’t know if Detroit has the ability to keep this Cardinals team from putting points on the board.
So for the first part of this three-leg, same-game parlay, it’s the Cardinals OVER 27.5 points in Sunday’s game. After a particularly stingy stretch of defense over three weeks against Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago—where Detroit gave up a combined 45 points and no more than 16 in a game—the Lions have surrendered 38 and 27 in the past two weeks to the Broncos and Vikings respectively. Subtract Jacobs from that lineup and the Arizona pass offense, ranked fifth in DVOA, is going to look as formidable as ever even without DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup.
Next, we’re locking in the Cardinals -6.5 on an alternate spread because it’s hard to imagine this Lions offense getting back on track without its two best skill position players on offense. Losing D’Andre Swift was something this offense could overcome with their depth at running back, but losing T.J. Hockenson, without a doubt Detroit’s most important and versatile pass-catching threat, there isn’t much of a roster behind him in Detroit.
That TE room has gone …….