Bettors have been holding on to a dirty little secret that TV pundits won’t tell – despite the delusions of a head coach, the Arizona Cardinals are really better off without Carson Palmer under center.
Palmer, currently injured, still has an accurate arm. But the Cards are average or worse in pass-blocking, and the aging starter cannot avoid the rush. The other QBs on Arians’ roster may not have the arm or the pedigree, but they’ve got nimble feet…and that’s a requirement for taking snaps in Arizona.
The Houston Texans are absolutely not better off without their former starter, Deshaun Watson. The Clemson-bred rookie was on the verge of being the next dual-threat superstar before getting hurt for the season.
Without Watson, the Texans blew a golden chance to beat Indianapolis at home, then reeked-up Los Angeles in a 33-7 road loss to the Rams. Arizona may have all kinds of problems, but is Houston really any better apart from their injured rookie superstar?
Odds are about even…except for the home-field advantage.
Who: Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans
When: Sunday, November 19th, 1 PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Lines: AZ (+2) at Houston (-2) / O/U Total: (38)
Arians is changing QBs again, this time going with Blaine Gabbert instead of a hobbled Drew Stanton. It would be a mistake for anyone to think Gabbert is the savior, but Arizona got a few good years out of Chris Chandler after he looked terrible with a bad team for many years. Gabbert is hoping to have a similar renaissance.
What’s more, putting the youngest legs under center is a good idea. The Cardinal receiving corps is still great, led by Larry Fitzgerald – who can be a security blanket for a fresh QB.
But Arians isn’t asking Gabbert to out-play a superstar in the NFL – yet. He’s asking the Jacksonville alum to out-play journeyman Tom Savage of the Texans.
The O/U total for this game is tiny, with odds-makers concluding that Savage and Gabbert won’t hit the broad side of a barn. But Arizona’s cerebral defense always gives up a few early points to anybody. And the Cardinals could find themselves getting better as their choice of QB gets younger.
Take the over. We’re thinking this clash will be a little more wide-open than analysts believe. The defenses may give up a lot of yards but also force turnovers…and that leads to scoring.