The Week 8 NFL schedule opens on Thursday night with an appealing matchup between two of the best teams in the NFC as the Green Bay Packers visit the Arizona Cardinals. At home, the undefeated Cardinals are 6.5-point favorites over the 6-1 Packers. There is also an ambitious over/under of 50 points.
As mentioned, the Cardinals are a perfect 7-0 on the season, surprising most of the league. While they haven’t faced the toughest stretch of their season, Arizona does have road wins over the Titans and Rams. The Cardinals have also been dominant in their last two games, outscoring the Browns and Texans by a combined 68-19.
Meanwhile, the Packers have done well to put their Week 1 loss to the Saints behind them and win six in a row. While they haven’t dominated teams as the Cardinals have, four of Green Bay’s six wins have come by at least 10 points. The Packers are also in a position to start running away with the NFC North if they can extend their winning streak.
Missing from the Pack
For the Packers, this week’s game could be defined by who’s not available, most notably wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, who have both tested positive for COVID.
While Aaron Rodgers has been effective in leading the Green Bay offense, nobody on the roster averages more than 26 receiving yards per game, Aaron Jones is having a rather mediocre season based on his track record, so creating big plays without Adams will be a challenge.
Meanwhile, the Packers will also be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who has also tested positive for COVID. Overall, the Green Bay defense has been solid this season, especially if you forgive the 38 points, the Saints scored in Week 1.
However, the Packers are also dealing with some injuries in the secondary and are also playing without pass rushers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith.
No Stopping This Train
Outside of one game this season, the Arizona offense has looked like a well-oiled machine behind MVP candidate Kyler Murray. The Cardinals have scored at least 31 points in every game, but one with Murray averaging over 300 yards per game and nine yards per pass.
White DeAndre Hopkins is still the biggest threat; the Arizona offense has four receivers who share the ball, not to mention Chase Edmonds and James Conner leading an underrated rushing attack.
Of course, not enough people recognize the fact that the Cardinals have allowed the fewest points in the NFL this year, just 16.3 points per game. While the offense gets a little credit for that, the Vikings are the only team to score more than 20 points against Arizona this year.
Even with J.J. Watt out this week and Chandler Jones not making a difference since Week 1, the Cardinals have looked stout defensively at all three levels.
With so much going wrong for the Packers right now, their backs are against the wall in this game. Without Adams, it’s tough to envision Green Bay scoring enough points against a solid Arizona defense to keep pace with Murray and company.
At home, bet on the Cardinals to win and cover the 6.5-point spread.
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