The 2021 Arizona Cardinals are in unfamiliar territory. The team is in the midst of its first losing streak of the season.
Fans in the Red Sea were left scratching their heads on Sunday after the Cards were dominated by the Detroit Lions. Arizona was upset by the team with the NFL’s worst record. You could even call it the biggest upset of the year.
However, as the great New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick once said after a tough loss, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”
Except in the case of the Cardinals, it is, “We’re on to Indianapolis.”
The Cardinals and the Colts will be playing in one of two Christmas Day NFL games on Saturday. With the top seed in the NFC seemingly slipping away, Arizona is hoping Santa left a ‘W’ under the Christmas tree.
Cardinals slight home favorites over Colts on Christmas Day
Game: Indianapolis Colts (8-6) at Arizona Cardinals (10-4)
Date: Saturday, Dec. 25
Time: 6:15 p.m. MST
Location: State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
TV Coverage: NFL Network
The Arizona Cardinals will find themselves in the prime time spotlight once again. The last two occasions didn’t go so well. Arizona has lost its last two stand-alone primetime games, a Week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football and a Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.
Maybe the Cards will fair better on ‘Saturday Night Football.’ It won’t be easy, as Arizona gets ready to face a red hot Indianapolis Colts team. Indianapolis has won seven out of its last nine games and is right in the thick of the playoff chase in the AFC.
The Colts’ recent success combined with Arizona’s struggles has Arizona sports betting sites losing confidence in the home-state squad. The Cardinals are favored in this game. However, the spread is only at . To put that in perspective, home teams normally get a three-point cushion from sportsbooks.
That means oddsmakers are very high on the Colts.
This game is essentially a ‘pick-em.’ In other words, if you are planning on putting some cash down on this game, you may want to stick to placing a moneyline bet. Arizona is listed at odds to win on Saturday. Meanwhile, the moneyline odds for a Colts win are at .
If you are sweating bullets about betting on the Arizona Cardinals on the moneyline, the over/under is always an option. The over/under for total points in this game is at .
Both teams are averaging over 27 points per game this season.
NFL making a mark on NBA’s Christmas Day holiday
Traditionally, Christmas Day was been viewed by many in the sports world as the start of the NBA season. The day has been dominated by basketball for decades with non-stop NBA action from the moment we unwrap our presents to when we finish off the eggnog late at night.
The NFL would typically stay away from the holiday, rarely putting out many marquee games. In fact, the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday in 2016, the majority of that week’s slate of NFL games took place on Christmas Eve.
However, that year the NFL did roll out two division clashes on Dec. 25. The Pittsburgh Steelers beat their bitter rivals the Baltimore Ravens to clinch the AFC North and the Kansas City Chiefs routed division foes the Denver Broncos deep into the holiday evening.
Since then, the NFL has not shied away from going toe-to-toe with the NBA on Christmas Day. Last year’s Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints NFL Christmas game averaged a Nielsen-estimated 20.1 million viewers across FOX and NFL Network.
As one would expect, the NFL easily topped the day’s featured NBA game which saw LeBron James’ Los Angles Lakers top Luka Dončić’s Dallas Mavericks in primetime (6.9M).
Can the Cardinals Rebound From Last Week’s Huge Upset?
Arizona’s loss to the Lions has put a bad taste in the mouths of the fans, the sports media and even the oddsmakers. The Cardinals Super Bowl odds have plummeted to . There is still hope. Arizona needs to win one of their last three games to clinch a playoff spot.
However, many are losing faith in this team. The Lions hadn’t scored more than 30 points in a game since Week 1. To go along with that, they only scored 20-plus points twice all season before their win over the Cardinals.
You could make the case it was the upset of the year to this point. Here are the five biggest upsets to date during the 2021 NFL season.
1. Jaguars over Bills (-16)
As impressive as the Lions’ upset of the Cardinals was, the Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Buffalo Bills outright as 16-point home underdogs is just as impressive.
The Jags beat the Bills in a 9-6 win. They were without their top offensive player, James Robinson, and were still being coached by Urban Meyer, whose disastrous tenure in Jacksonville ended after just 13 games.
The Jaguars’ defense showed up in a big way and won the turnover battle, 3-1, while also sacking Bills quarterback Josh Allen four times. Considering that the Bills were favored by more points than were scored in the game, that’s pretty good for the Jaguars.
2. Lions over Cardinals (-13)
Bettors who placed a Lions +13 ticket should have huge smiles on their faces. They destroyed the Cardinals in the 30-12 win and looked like they should have been the 13-point favorites.
Detroit never trailed in the game and led by at least 14 points in the entire second half. The Lions were just the third team to hold the Cardinals to fewer than 23 points on the season, and one of those games came with Colt McCoy at quarterback.
The Lions also made history, as they are just the third team since 1970 to beat a team with the NFL’s best record while having the league’s worst record.
3. Jets over Bengals (-11.5)
Remember when Mike White was going to be the New York Jets’ version of Tom Brady? That stemmed, largely, from White’s strong performance in his first NFL start against the Cincinnati Bengals.
White had to start at quarterback against Cincinnati because Zach Wilson suffered a knee injury against the Patriots. He led the Jets to a surprising victory by throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets won 34-31, but that was more than two touchdowns better than they were expected to do.
4. Broncos over Cowboys (-10.5)
The Broncos won this game 30-16 but it was much more dominant than that. Denver led 30-0 in the fourth quarter before allowing Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to notch a couple of garbage-time touchdown drives.
This game also played into the “don’t bet against Teddy Bridgewater” theory. He is 42-20 against the spread during his career.
5. Texans over Titans (-10)
There was talk about the Tennessee Titans being the best team in the AFC when they faced the Houston Texans in Week 11. After they lost 22-13 as double-digit favorites, that talk largely went away.
What’s strange about the outcome is that the Titans outplayed the Texans for the most part. They outgained Houston in yards, 420-190. So, what went wrong? The Titans turned the ball over five times.