The second week of the NFL preseason kicks into gear on Friday night when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Arizona Cardinals. The visiting Chiefs are listed as 2.5-point favorites over Arizona. The game also has an over/under of 41 points.
Coming off a loss in last season’s Super Bowl, the Chiefs started to get the bad taste out of their mouth with a 19-16 win over the 49ers last week. In a rematch of the previous Super Bowl, the game was close and ugly throughout the second half with backups in the game. But a touchdown run by rookie quarterback Shane Buechele ended up being the difference in the game.
The Cardinals also won their preseason opener by an identical 19-16 score, knocking off the Cowboys in a battle of former NFC East rivals. Matt Prater was the star of the game, kicking four successful field goals for Arizona, including two in the final two minutes to overcome a 16-13 deficit. Even though it didn’t count, it was an impressive comeback win by the Cardinals regardless.
While Kyler Murray didn’t play last week, the Cardinals were led by Chris Streveler, a second-year quarterback from South Dakota. In true Murray fashion, Steveler threw for over 100 yards while also leading the team in rushing. With Colt McCoy also getting plenty of reps, the Arizona offense appears to be in good hands, even if Murray doesn’t play a lot this weekend.
On the other side, there were some concerns with Kansas City’s defense last week. Even if the Chiefs weren’t playing their best lineup, they gave up 383 total yards, including an 80-yard bomb by Trey Lance to Trent Sheffield late in the first quarter. They also gave up six yards per carry on the ground, which is another concern if the Cardinals play more of their starters this week.
Patrick Mahomes attempted just two passes last week, but the Chiefs looked more than comfortable with their backup quarterbacks in the game. Buechele led the final scoring drive while Chad Henne and Anthony Gordon were both sharp, helping KC quarterbacks combine to go 26 for 39. But with a young offensive line, especially on the right side, it remains to be seen if the Chiefs can generate a productive rushing attack in the preseason.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s defense seemed to be a little more vulnerable against the pass last week. Even without Dak Prescott, the Cowboys had over 200 passing yards against the Cardinals, albeit on five yards per pass attempt. With the Arizona defense far from full strength during the preseason, there will surely be concerns about how the Cardinals will defend Kansas City’s offense with the Chiefs likely to mix in more of their starters.
Hail to the Chiefs
As mentioned, Kansas City’s quarterback play was surprisingly competent despite Mahomes getting few reps. That should put the Chiefs in a good position to move the ball regardless of how much the former MVP plays. With that in mind, bet on Kansas City to win and cover the 2.5-point spread against the Cardinals.
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