The best holiday gift for this Arizona Cardinal squad will be given when the 2018 season finally comes to an end. That goes for the players on the field, but also for the fans that often cover their eyes when watching.
Thankfully the Cardinals have had the equally bad 49ers on the schedule, which has produced the only 2 wins on the year. It’s in doubt whether the Big Red can make any noise against any of the other 30 teams of The Shield.
Green Bay hasn’t had the most consistent season through 12 weeks. In fact, they’ve only won 4 out of 11 games. But with the Pack holding onto slim hopes for a postseason bid, Vegas sportsbooks are giving the lowly visitors to Lambeau 2 whole touchdowns on Sunday.
Who: Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers
When: Sunday, December 2nd, 1 PM EST
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Lines: Arizona (+14) vs Green Bay (-14) / O/U Total: (44.5)
Despite having future Hall of Fame WR Larry Fitzgerald and former NFL all-purpose yard leader David Johnson at his disposal, rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has not found the success of other young QBs in the league. The debut season of the 1st round draft choice has been a struggle, and his ratio of 11 interceptions and only 10 touchdowns is abysmal for the modern game. The Cardinal offense can’t buy points.
As John McKay would put it, the Big Red have made up for a horrible offense by playing even lousier on defense. Philip Rivers came within a completion of a perfect game against the Cardinals last week. Arizona is ranked 4th in the league against the pass in yardage totals, but that’s because all opponents really have to do is hand the ball off.
There are certainly some significant changes on the horizon for this team – that is if the fans are lucky. New head coaches tend to get at least a 2-year shot, but Steve Wilks is clearly one of the worst to get an NFL job in a while, and there is at least circumstantial evidence that the squad is quitting on him:
After the first quarter (vs LA), too many Cardinals players didn’t seem much interested in putting up a fight by, you know, trying to block and tackle and perform other activities related to football. Wilks denied this. Coaches always do because it’s a death knell for their futures.
There is no bigger condemnation in sports than to acknowledge there was a lack of effort. “I don’t think those guys quit,” Wilks said. “I’m not even going to stand up and say those guys quit. Do we have to play better? Of course we do.”
Through 10 games, I continued to think Wilks would return in 2019. He’s a rookie coach who failed at finding an offensive coordinator, who went through training camp without a general manager, who inherited a roster that wasn’t as talented as everyone thought, who had to switch quarterbacks, who was learning what his defensive players could and couldn’t do. But the 11th game – Sunday’s loss to the Chargers – looked worse, like “I don’t give a damn” bad. And with a record now of 2-9, the chances of Wilks returning for a second season don’t seem great.
The playoff hopes of the Packers took a major dent with their loss to their arch rival Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. An afternoon contest at Lambeau against the lowly Cardinals is the perfect medicine for a Packer squad desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Rodgers’ ball protection has been among the league’s best as he only has a single interception all season while throwing for 3,271 yards. But he could use a better completion percentage. Big-time playmaker Davante Adams is rising up the ranks among the league’s top receivers, 3rd in the league with 10 touchdown grabs this season.
Lambeau Field has never looked better for the 4-6-1 Packers as the team has not sniffed victory away from home this season. It will be imperative for the defense to put the ball in the hands of their elite quarterback more frequently. The Packers have struggled to a 23rd ranking against the rush allowing 122.9 yards per game. That allows for opposing ball-control and often less-than-ideal field position for a fiery but weather-beaten QB.
When an NFL team decides to “go through the motions” instead of giving an all-out effort in practices and on Sundays, the results can be ugly. If the Cardinals were playing a poor team at home in some type of emotional circumstance or with an interim head coach (a potential scenario in the weeks to come) then they’d be the best bet in the world to cover plus-14 points.
As it stands, they’re probably the worst bet ever ATS…at least against a competent cold-weather team at Lambeau that is trying to scrape out a Wild Card run.
Take the Packers will bells on…and try not to wince watching Arizona try (or almost try) to play them.