There’s something about playing at State Farm Stadium that hasn’t been appetizing for the Arizona Cardinals. When the rest of the NFL enjoys at least SOME home-field advantage, it’s been decidedly NOT advantageous for Arizona to take the field in Glendale, where they have lost eleven of their last 12 games.
BetOnline patrons are wondering whether they will be able to break that hex. And maybe the New England Patriots are not exactly the right team to do that against.
New England comes into this game with some hope for a playoff spot, with a 6–6 record and a chance to jump right into contention with a victory. While there is no question that Mac Jones has taken a step back this season after an outstanding rookie campaign that landed him in the Pro Bowl, he’s still playing with a little more confidence now that he doesn’t sense backup Bailey Zappe breathing down his neck. But there was indeed some excitement about the Western Kentucky product when he replaced Jones in the lineup, giving you an idea of what New England fans were thinking.
Can the Cardinals make themselves a tough nut to crack? Much of that is going to depend on the ability of Marquise Brown and DeAndre Hopkins to stretch out the Patriot secondary. Hopkins was completely unavailable to the team until recently because of a suspension. And Brown, after an injury, is back in the lineup. In the last game against the Chargers, they combined for 133 yards in receptions.
In the Monday night football betting lines on this game, as they have been established at BetOnline, New England is the road favorite:
New England Patriots -2
Arizona Cardinals +2
Over 44 points -110
Under 44 points -110
The playoff format has expanded, and three wildcard teams will be involved. So the Patriots find themselves battling with, among other squads, the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets in their own division. When there is a winnable game, they must seize that opportunity.
The Pats have been pretty solid on defense this season, which is probably no surprise to a lot of people. They ranked sixth in the NFL, giving up just 312 yards per game. And over the last five contests, they’ve allowed an average of only 75.4 rushing yards.
Jones has just seven touchdown passes to go with seven interceptions, and the receiving corps has been somewhat less than explosive, which makes the presence of Devante Parker, the former Dolphin, even more, important because he averages 19 yards per catch. What Jones will have to do is to find him more often.
Bill Belichick will mostly rely on his ground attack, which has a pretty nice duo in Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, both of whom average 4.6 yards per attempt.
It’s when these guys get down to the red zone that they falter. No team in the NFL– not even the Denver Broncos – has scored a lower percentage of touchdowns on their red zone trips than New England has (37.5%). And Arizona is the worst red zone defense in the league, allowing 68.9% touchdowns. Something’s got to give, right?
Can the Patriots get themselves into some favorable third-down situations? Arizona has yielded 45% to its opponents on third down. All of this has made it a very uneasy season for Kliff Kingsbury, whose time in the desert might be very short. Kyler Murray is very nimble (415 rushing yards), and he will present a challenge for the New England pass rushers, who will have to chase him down. But his offensive line, which has battled some injuries, has made him release the ball very quickly, resulting in 6.1 yards per attempt. This might cause an increase in the betting odds at football betting sites.
So which is a more solid situation? We are going to cast a vote for the Patriots. They’ll win the war up front, and Arizona doesn’t present a hostile environment as the home team.
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