The 6-1 Green Bay Packers head to Arizona to face the undefeated Cardinals in what could be a preview of the NFC championship game. Green Bay is riding a six-game win streak, but will it stop here?
- Moneyline: Green Bay (+225) | Arizona (-275)
- Spread: Green Bay +6.5 (-110) | Arizona -6.5 (+110)
- Total: 50.5 - Over (-110) | Under (-110)
- Game Info: Oct. 28, 2021, 8:20 p.m. ET | NFL Network
Let’s look at some quick numbers. Both teams have good offenses, but the Cardinals’ 32 points per game this year would easily cover the spread when compared to Green Bay’s 24. Defensively, the Cardinals have allowed the lowest points to opponents in the NFL, an average of 16.3 points per game, to the Packers' 21.
It’s easy to see how the Cardinals are the home favorites.
Green Bay should never be discounted, but we have to account for the fact Aaron Rodgers will likely be without stud receiver Davante Adams, and they will definitely be without receiver Allen Lazard. Adams and Lazard are on the COVID-19 list, and only Adams has the small chance to clear protocol in time. We have yet to hear if Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be activated for this game.
Now, before you worry too much about Rodgers, it’s worth noting that in his last five games played without Davante Adams, he threw for 17 touchdowns. Rodgers has thrown for 1,710 yards and 15 touchdowns this year with a 68.3% completion rate.
On Arizona’s side, Kyler Murray has been playing football like it’s a video game. He’s running less than ever before, but he’s making up for it with yards through the air.
Kyler’s stats this year are eye-popping: 2,002 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and a 73.5% completion rate. As for weapons, Kyler has a big advantage. DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore and now Zach Ertz round out his pass-catchers—and all of them are healthy.
The ground game should be active for both squads, with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon capitalizing on an Arizona run defense that has allowed the third-most yards per carry to opposing running backs this year (4.79). On the other side, Chase Edmonds and James Conner should make some progress while Green Bay is busy trying to stop Kyler through the air.
In the end, Green Bay will keep this competitive, but the Cardinals will remain undefeated.
Check out the odds at SI Sportsbook
As for the points scored in this game, I like the OVER on the game total of 50.5. I don’t see this being a defensive chess match.
Now, let’s have some fun with some player props!
Chase Edmonds is off the injury report. He had 15 carries last week compared to Conner’s 10, and he played 70% of the snaps to Conner’s 30%. Edmonds logged 81 yards on the ground last week, and he has beat this rushing prop in five out of seven games. SI Sportsbook has James Conner’s rushing prop higher than Edmonds—perhaps because they expect Arizona to be playing with a big lead—but that just doesn’t quite add up for me. I’m taking the over on 43.5 rushing yards for Chase Edmonds.
Speaking of James Conner, I love him for an anytime touchdown at +138. Plain and simple, Conner is the goal-line back. Edmonds hasn’t found the end zone once, and Conner is averaging 41% of the goal line opportunities for Arizona. Conner has already logged six touchdowns this year, so take the plus money.
The ground game should be active on Thursday for Green Bay. Arizona has allowed 4.79 yards per carry—the third-most in the league—and an 85% catch rate to opposing running backs. Aaron Rodgers can’t win this one on his own, and Jones may be the best weapon he’s got.
If there’s no Davante Adams, and there’s no Allen Lazard, and there’s no Marquez Valdez Scantling—well, who does that leave? Randall Cobb is the wideout Rodgers will find. It’s no secret that adding Cobb was part of the deal Rodgers made to stay in Green Bay this year. They’re actually “besties,” and maybe we will even get a cute Instagram story a la Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Or, better yet, maybe we will get a two-touchdown game like in Week 4—though really, we only need one.
O.K.—here’s your lotto ticket for Thursday.
You may be thinking about playing Robert Tonyan for an anytime TD, and yes, he’s a good play. We know Rodgers loves him as a red zone target, and let’s face it, the Packers don't have a lot of great choices. However, consider this: the Cardinals have yet to allow a TD to an opposing tight end this year. They’ve also allowed the fewest receiving yards to the tight end position—only 156.
Now, you may say that’s because the tight ends they've faced have not been world-beaters. Here’s the list: Anthony Firkser, Tyler Conklin, Jacob Hollister, Tyler Higbee, Ross Dwelley, David Njoku, Austin Hooper, and Jordan Akins. Really, though, Arizona’s dominance against the tight end goes all the way back to 2020—and that's because of linebacker Isaiah Simmons' defense.
So, here’s a scenario: while Simmons is busy taking out TE1 Tonyan, Rodgers sneaks one to Lewis. Lewis had three touchdowns in 2020, and he saw three targets last week, so he’s trending in the right direction.
Who’s with me?
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