Arizona Cardinals heavy favorites in Week 8
By Erich Becker
The Arizona Cardinals take on their former starter in Josh McCown on Sunday in Cleveland.
Set your clocks (at least here in Arizona) as the Cardinals will take on the Cleveland Browns at 11AM MST and Josh McCown who started for the Cardinals from 2002 to 2005 and was drafted by the team in the third round of the 2002 Draft.
The Cardinals are coming off of a win last week, some may say, by the skin of their teeth, as they beat the Ravens after nearly doing everything possible to lose the game, save for Tony Jefferson. The team comes in to Cleveland on a short week, having played Monday Night, but mostly healthy, save for cornerback.
The Browns, having been beaten by the Rams on the road, come in with some questions, although as of this morning, Josh McCown, who hurt his shoulder in the game last week late in the fourth quarter, will be the starting QB against his former team.
The scales are tipped in the Cardinals favor, almost entirely, however, as we saw last week, near unanimous picking one way or the other can go terrible wrong (almost).
Mike Florio and MDS at ProFootballTalk both have the Cardinals winning handily, Florio has this take:
"The Cardinals continue to rough up on the mediocre teams on their schedule, as they wait for teams like the Seahawks, Packers, Bengals, and Vikings to bubble up on the slate."
Josh Weinfuss, who covers the team for ESPN, has the Cardinals dominating on the ground:
"The Browns are last in the league in rushing defense, allowing a league-high 151 yards per game. So the Cardinals, who average 125.6 yards rushing per game, likely will get a big day from Chris Johnson and maybe even Andre Ellington. Cardinals 27, Browns 13."
Pat McManamon, in the same piece, has this to say about his Brown’s chances:
"Arizona ranks second in the league in points scored, eighth in points allowed and fourth overall in both total offense and defense. The Browns have too many holes on defense (literally and figuratively) and fewer weapons on offense. The only way the Browns have a chance is if the Cardinals give a half-hearted effort while traveling after a Monday night game. Bruce Arians won’t let that happen. Cardinals 31, Browns 17."
Nate Silver’s ELO model, who picked 11 games last week, and Microsoft’s Cortana, who won 10, both have the Cardinals winning with a 61% chance for Cortana and 71% chance for ELO.
NFL.com’s Weekly Pick-em has the Cardinals topping the ranks for all the panels. And in the traditional picks, the league’s site has the Cardinals winning, with some advice for the Browns defensive coordinator:
"The Browns need a win, as their next two games are at Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh. Cleveland needs to keep Carson Palmer in check to stay in this one. The Browns’ run defense is worst in the league, but if they can limit the home runs to John Brown and intermediate routes to Larry Fitzgerald, CJrejuvenatedK and Andre Ellington won’t beat them all by themselves."
Finally, CBSSports.com has the entire panel picking the Cardinals to come out on top with Pete Prisco having the following to say with the Cards coming out on top:
"This is a short week turnaround for the Cardinals, which can be challenging on the road. But the Browns have issues and could have Johnny Manziel at quarterback. Arizona will send a ton of looks his way, which will be tough for him to overcome. Plus, the Browns won’t stop the Arizona offense."
Now finally, finally, FoxSports.com has a panel of seven, six pick the Cardinals, that lone wolf was the only expert I could find that didn’t pick the red birds this week.
The Cardinals have too much offense for the Browns to take on with the way they are built. The Cardinals are liable to give up a few plays here and there to the big armed McCown, with a short week and some of the lapses from Monday Night, but the better team should come out on top and go into the bye to get happy and healthy and prepare for Seattle. CJ2K will have another monster day and come out of Week 8 as the league leader in rushing. Can anyone remember the last time the Cardinals have the league’s leader in rushing after half the season? Cardinals 31 – Browns 13