Betting on the Cardinals to Win Super Bowl 50
A couple of weeks ago, Arizona and New England were the favorites to take the Lombardi Trophy home after Super Bowl 50. That shifted a bit when the Seattle Seahawks destroyed Arizona, 36-6, but the wild card resulted have shifted things back, with the Cards and the Pats both sitting with 9/2 odds.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 12, 2016
Betting on the Arizona Cardinals
So why are the Cardinals such a favorite here, even after that weak finish? Well, we learned from the wild card round that the Seahawks may not be as indestructible as people thought. The Vikings defense was able to hold the Seahawks scoreless until a fluke play — a snap that got by Russell Wilson, who scrambled to grab the ball and heave it downfield to a receiver that the Vikings had neglected, and then a short play for a touchdown. Then an Adrian Peterson fumble led to a Seahawks field goal, putting the visitors up 10-9. Then, the Vikings still had the victory in hand, but Blair Walsh inexplicably duck-hooked a 25-yard field goal attempt to the left, sending the Seahawks to the divisional round.
Another reason to look at the Cardinals as a favorite is that they will have a rested Carson Palmer starting the game against the Green Bay Packers — whom they routed at home, 38-0, just a few weeks ago. Yes, Aaron Rodgers was able to find some offensive rhythm in the wild card round, leading the Pack from an 11-0 deficit to a 35-18 victory. Let’s remember, though, that this victory was against the Washington Redskins, a team whose defense is not even in the same category. Kirk Cousins is a terrific young quarterback, but Carson Palmer has been in the NFL elite the past two seasons, and he is ready to slice and dice a Packer secondary that will yield big plays.
The Packers’ offensive line has been eaten up by injuries this season — a big factor in the pressure from the Redskins yielding that early safety. However, the Packers found some resolve and improved their blocking — and Rodgers used his mobility (and the Redskins’ dreadful secondary) to move the team up and down the field in the second half. Against the Cardinals, they will see a front seven that is much quicker and has delivered a lot more punishment all year long to opposing offenses than what Washington showed Green Bay.
After the Cardinals get by the Packers, they will have the Carolina-Seattle winner. Trends over the past three seasons show that, after a team plays the Seahawks — win or lose — they are much more likely to lose their next game than the league average, unless they have a bye week, which the Panthers would not. One theory about this is that the physical punishment that the Seahawks bring to each game takes its toll on the opposition. The “Legion of Boom” would like nothing better than to lay some wood on Cam Newton and leave him on the turf. That gives the Cards a bit of an edge in that game. Finally, there is no team in the AFC that has been left untouched by the injury bug. This is a great opportunity for the Cardinals to run the table and hoist their first Lombardi Trophy.