#278 Arizona Cardinalsvs.#277 Oakland Raiders
Written by Chuck D
Oakland Raiders 0-0 (0-0 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals 0-0 (0-0 ATS)
When and Where: Saturday, August 12, U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. 10:00pm EDT
Spread: Arizona -3; Total: 39.5
The Cardinal and Raiders are two teams that always seem to be going in different directions. For most of the years that the franchises were in existence, it was the Raiders that were the dominant team, and the Cardinals, whether be in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Glendale were simply fodder for other teams. However, after the 2002 season which saw the Raiders reach the Super Bowl, it has been Arizona which has been a perennial contender, even reaching the Super Bowl one year before falling to the Steelers.
The Raiders went 12-4 a year ago, but unfortunately for the Silver and Black, both losses came to Kansas City. The Chiefs also finished 12-4 and as a result of their head-to-head victories, won the division. 2016 is a season of what could have been for Oakland. Derek Carr, in his third year, became one of the more prolific quarterbacks in the National Football League before breaking his leg late in the year against Indianapolis. Third-string QB Connor Cook, out of Michigan State, would eventually take the helm and lead the team into the playoffs where he, and they, would falter in the first round against the Houston Texans.
The Raider Nation has not sat idly by during the offseason. In one of the biggest moves in the league, they manage to lure Oakland native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Carr has returned and hopes are high in Oakland, even if the team is destined to leave for Sin City. The Raiders will move to Las Vegas in 2020, but in the meantime they will be hoping to impress the fans in Oak-Town. They have the roster to do it, so look for them to be one of the favorites in the AFC this year.
Arizona did not exactly impress a year ago. The squad would ultimately finish 7-8-1, which was good enough to finish in second place in the NFC West, but not good enough to earn a playoff bid. Carson Palmer is not getting any younger, but Blaine Gabbert has been brought in to sit behind him. Before you dismiss Gabbert as somebody that could overtake the aging Palmer, keep in mind that he began last season as the starting quarterback in San Francisco. Okay, I kind of just laughed out loud myself, but still, the point remains that no job is safe in the NFL unless your name is Tom Brady.
The Cards already have a game under their belt, as they fell to the Cowboys, 20-18, in the Hall of Fame Game in Ohio last week. Neither team played their starters for long, if at all. Arizona was up 15-0 in the first quarter thanks to a five-yard touchdown run from Kerwynn Williams, and another TD run from Andre Ellington from three yards out. Gabbert ran in the two-point conversion after the second score. Their only other points would come in the third quarter thanks to a Matt Wile 40-yard-field goal. A Cowboys field goal in the fourth quarter would doom them to defeat, but in the preseason there really is no doom.
The Cardinals have already played a preseason game, which may not seem like much, but when you have a bunch of players who have never played together before, a game under your belt can make a world of difference. They are also at home, and we should not expect to see the starters for either side for very long in this one. Give the edge to Arizona in this affair.
I never care for the over/under plays to begin with, much less in the preseason,, but if that is your bag of tea then let’s go for it. The reality of the matter is that the Cardinals already have a game under their belt and are at home so they should be a bit more efficient on offense. I am not saying this will be a shootout . . . as a matter of fact I think the opposite. Look for both offenses to struggle and the under to hit here.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.