Inexperienced QBs to decide Cards-Raiders
The Arizona Cardinals want to move on from last year’s loss in the NFC title tilt. Just don’t expect Bruce Arians’ bunch to find much retribution tonight.
Glendale provides the setting for Arizona’s exhibition opener with Oakland. Online sports book Bovada.lv lists the home squad as a 3-point favorite, too, despite Arians’ assertion that his key skill guys will be limited to 10 snaps. The over/under for the clash sits at 37.5.
Carson Palmer & Co. got waylaid by Carolina on Jan. 24, 49-15, dashing hopes of a Super Bowl breakthrough for the long-suffering franchise. Optimism remains high heading into the fall, though, as the Cards return impact starters across the board. Alongside Palmer and ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald, tailback David Johnson is poised to emerge as an offensive star.
Said individuals, however, may not break a sweat against the Raiders. Instead, look for a ton of Matt Barkley and Jake Coker under center. Neither signal-caller has played in a contest for Arians. On defense, new starters D.J. Swearinger and Brandon Williams get to run the show while Tyrann Mathieu continues to recover from ACL surgery.
For the visitors, Jack Del Rio could give quarterback Derek Carr multiple series. Yet the head coach’s biggest priority consists of observing several raw O-linemen in game action. Former second-round selection Menelik Watson, Austin Howard and Kelechi Osemele are among those vying to put some quality material on tape in advance of Oakland’s Sept. 11 bout vs. New Orleans.
While the hosts have their own QB derby to sort out, we’re honestly more intrigued with the manner in which Del Rio evaluates Carr’s understudies. Both Matt McGloin and Connor Cook all figure to factor into this evening’s festivities. We believe McGloin, who’s produced serviceable work in 10 regular-season appearances, should string together a few solid drives and guide the road team to a mild upset.
FRIDAY NFL FREE PICK: RAIDERS +3