Ask Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon about moral victories and he'll likely tell you that no such things exist. Sure, the 40-year-old's squad played much better than expected during last Sunday's 20-16 loss to the Washington Commanders. In Gannon's eyes, however, there are very few positives to take out of Arizona's opening-day defeat.
The Cards could give Gannon something to be happy about in Week 2 when the team hosts the New York Giants at State Farm Stadium. Forget the fact that professional oddsmakers have made the Redbirds a 4-point underdog. Could it be that Las Vegas handicappers are severely underestimating Gannon's crew for the second consecutive weekend?
Signs are pointing to a Cardinals upset over the reeling Giants. Last Sunday night, New York was completely embarrassed at home by the Dallas Cowboys. "Big Red" should be outright annoyed with being almost a touchdown underdog to a club that got beat 40-0 in front of a national television audience.
The "G-Men" couldn't get anything going against the Cowboys, one of the franchise's most-hated division rivals. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones completed 15 out of 28 pass attempts for just 104 yards. The rattled signal-caller served up a pair of interceptions, and was extremely fortunate that his two fumbles during the matchup were recovered by New York.
Arizona Cardinals defense could feast on a mediocre scoring attack this coming Sunday
Giants running back Saquon Barkley never really got it going, totaling just 51 yards on 12 carries. Tight end Darren Waller was the team's leading receiver with a measly 36 yards. New York's offensive line allowed a whopping seven sacks to a Cowboys pass rush that made Jones' life miserable for the better part of the evening.
Arizona's sack specialists should also feast when they go up against that vulnerable Giants blocking unit. In Week 1, defensive coordinator Nick Rallis devised a scheme that resulted in six sacks of Commanders passer Sam Howell. What makes that number even more impressive is that five different defenders got in on the fun.
The Cardinals' defensive backfield could also be in line for a solid performance against a mediocre group of Giants wide receivers. Young cornerbacks like Marco Wilson and Kei'Trel Clark should match up well against the likes of Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, and Parris Campbell. Waller could act as a reliable safety valve in the middle of the field, but is certainly no one to lose sleep over.
Of course, a surprise victory over New York will not occur without a better performance out of Arizona QB Josh Dobbs. The 28-year-old averaged a pathetic 4.4 yards per attempt during the clash with the Commanders, and the offense failed to produce a touchdown with the journeyman under center. There could quite possibly be a short leash on Dobbs this coming weekend with talented rookie Clayton Tune waiting in the wings.
The oddsmakers got it wrong last week when they made the Cards a seven-point underdog in the nation's capital. This coming Sunday, Gannon's group will do more than just cover the spread. It will by no means be easy, but the Cardinals will even their record with a 19-17 victory over the overrated Giants.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com, odds provided by Vegas Insider - Game odds will refresh periodically and are subject to change)