When and where: September 23, 2018, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ, 1:25 PM ET
An 0-2 start to the season has left little hope for the moribund Arizona Cardinals to turn things around, and now, they’ll have to deal with another elite defense in the visiting Chicago Bears. Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford was shutout for a second consecutive week in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
In Week 3, he’ll be getting a visit from arguably the best defensive player in the NFL in Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
The Khalil Mack factor emerging early
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden says he has “no regrets” about trading Mack to the Bears, but deep down, his stomach has to be turning at the sight of the former defensive player of the year making another case for defensive MVP in a different uniform.
The Bears hit the lottery in acquiring the former first-round draft pick, who has had a profound impact on a defense that was already pretty good. In only two games with the team, he has two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown. Those stats are more impressive than the current Raiders defense combined.
His presence against a makeshift offensive front for the Cardinals on Sunday spells doom for Bradford and company.
Just ask Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who Mack and the Bears defense held to under 20 points on Monday night. There has also been significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball with the additions of wideouts Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton. Robinson had 10 receptions for 83 yards against the Seahawks.
Is it Rosen time in Arizona?
The post-Carson Palmer era hasn’t looked too promising for the Cardinals, particularly with Bradford behind center. In back-to-back losses to the Rams and Washington Redskins, the veteran quarterback has yet to even throw a touchdown pass. The Cardinals’ offense has been shut down in consecutive weeks.
If not for Christian Kirk’s two field goals in Week 1, they would have been shut out.
It could be time to go all-in on the rebuild and hand the reins of the offense over to rookie Josh Rosen. All he could do was stand on the sideline and yawn at the ineptitude that was on display on Sunday.
While he may not be the short-term answer, he could provide the Cardinals with a legitimate long-term solution to their quarterback woes.
Bradford only threw for 90 passing yards and one interception against the Rams.
- Cardinals are 4-9-1 ATS in last 14 games against NFC opponents
- Cardinals are 0-6 ATS in last 6 games in the month of September
- Cardinals are 3-7 ATS in last 10 games played in Week 3
- Cardinals are 5-20-1 ATS in last 26 games after giving up over 350 total yards after their previous game
- Bears are 4-0 ATS in last 4 games
- Bears are 5-2 ATS against teams with a losing record
- Bears are 6-2-1 ATS in last 9 games after earning under 90 yards of rushing in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Bradford is struggling right now, and the offensive line hasn’t been able to consistently protect him. Not to mention running back David Johnson still hasn’t looked like himself since returning from the torn ACL injury he suffered last year. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals are an absolute mess this season with a secondary that couldn’t cover a twin-sized mattress with a king-sized bed.
The only teams worse than them defensively right now are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs—both of whom remain unbeaten.
The Bears’ defense is suffocating with the addition of Mack, and they can put even more pressure on teams with the emergence of their once docile offense. Mitch Trubisky should have no problem moving the ball down the field on this Cardinals secondary, and running back Jordan Howard should also have a big day against a rushing defense that has given up an average of 136 rushing yards per game.
Prediction: Chicago Bears
Full-Game Total Pick
These aren’t high-scoring offenses by any stretch. Even with the upgrades the Bears have made offensively, they are still a team heavily-dependent on what they’re able to do on the defensive side of the ball. As for the Cardinals, it’s hard to put any faith in them until they can at least score a touchdown. Take the under in this game.
Prediction: Under (37.5)
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Cardinals have been an absolute mess on defense to the point that even a Trubisky-led offense should be able to put up gaudy numbers.
Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs have worse defenses than the Cardinals through the first two weeks of the season. Trubisky will have plenty of opportunities to cause some damage with his new-look receiving corps, along with Howard plowing over a Cardinals defense giving up an average of 136 rushing yards per game.
Prediction: Bears (Over 21.5)