The Arizona Cardinals head to Tampa on Sunday to face the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium.
The Tampa Bay Bucs are 0-3 on the season, and things are not looking any better for Tampa right now. The Bucs are coming off a 23-3 beat down at the hands of the Patriots, and there are rumblings in Tampa that Schiano is losing this team. Schiano has a tough-guy demeanor about him, and in the NFL, that doesn’t always fly. Tampa quarterback Josh Freeman has struggled all season long, and just as I was writing this, news came across that the Bucs will be benching Freeman this weekend for Mike Glennon. Glennon is a rookie from NC State, and it will be interesting to see how the Bucs offense transitions to Glennon being under center this weekend. Tampa is ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game, gaining just 174.7 through the air on average, and the running game for the Bucs is middle of the road, ranking 15th in the league, with an average of 107.3 yards per game on the ground. Tampa’s defense is solid, which is the one saving grace for this team right now. In Tampa’s defense, the Bucs have had a tough road so far, having to play at the Jets and at the Pats in games one and three this season, and then in their second week, the Bucs faced the undefeated New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. No easy task for any team.
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The Arizona Cardinals are 1-2 on the season, and are coming off a 31-7 thrashing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. The Cards have one of the best rush defenses in the league, allowing just 73 yards on the ground per game. The secondary has been a whole other issue for the Cards as Arizona is allowing 297 yards through the air per game, ranking Arizona 27th in the league against the pass. The Cardinals have had to face two of the better passing teams in the league however, one being the Detroit Lions, and the other the Saints, so that stat may be a bit misleading right now, and I expect this defense to put up better numbers as the season goes on. The ground game has struggled for Arizona this season, but it is obvious that bringing in Carson Palmer was the right move, even if it isn’t a long term solution for the Cards. Palmer has played well this season, throwing for 762 yards for the Cardinals; however Palmer already has four picks on the year, something that has hounded him his whole career.
The Cardinals have been undervalued lately in the month of September as Arizona is a solid 7-3 against the spread in their last ten September games. So far the Cars are 0-2 overall on the road, and 1-1 against the spread. The Bucs are just 3-7 against the spread in their last ten games as a favorite, and after two or more consecutive losses, the Bucs are 3-12 against the number in their last 15.
I’m going to have to lay the points here with the Bucs. Arizona is a solid team and I like some of the things they are doing, but this Bucs team is much better than their record suggests right now. Tampa has a very good defense, especially in the back end with Reevis and Goldson now added to the roster. The Cardinals are going to want to throw it around the yard a bit, which plays into the strength of the Tampa defense. Glennon at quarterback can’t be much worse than what we have seen from Freeman this season, and if anything I feel it will give this team a much needed spark. The line value is there as well, with giving up less than a field goal at the current number.
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