NFL Week 15 Tips: Arizona to fly high over wounded Eagles

Carson Palmer can guide Arizona to a handsome win
Carson Palmer can guide Arizona to a handsome win

Arizona can win the battle of the birds against Philadelphia, while there should be points-a-plenty between New Orleans and Detroit. Neil Harvey looks ahead to Week 15's late NFL action...

"In New Orleans and Detroit we have two teams with powerful offenses who simply can't score points as fast as their D's are conceding them."

Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Monday, 01:30

On paper at least, Arizona have this game won hands down. Defensively, the miserly Cardinals have a huge advantage, rated in the opposite half of the NFL rankings to the Eagles when it comes to stopping both the run and the pass. Preventing opponents from scoring has been arguably Philly's biggest weakness this season. And they've been showing no sign of improving.

And the gulf is also big on offense, with Arizona's rushers ranking 10th to Philly's 13th. But it's through the air where the Cardinals look most likely to win this game, with their number three ranked passing game looking light years ahead of the Eagles, who trail down in 21st.

For Arizona, quarterback Carson Palmer is playing well enough to win a Super Bowl this year. By comparison, Philly's Sam Bradford has his hands full just trying to keep his job. Palmer has thrown for 31 touchdowns and more than 4000 yards. And that's a big part of why the Cardinals are (11-2). Bradford has missed a couple of games, but it's still no excuse for his mediocre 2664 yards and poor 14 TDs.

The Eagles defense looks like a Christmas present, just waiting to be unwrapped. And Arizona should be able to unravel it without too much fuss. Palmer should be able to connect at will with receivers John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. But it's rookie running back David Johnson who interests me most.

Stepping in because of injuries, Johnson's emergence could actually prove a struck of luck that helps strengthen the team. Not only does he have genuine zip about him, but he's also proving a valuable addition to the pass catching unit, in the short to medium range. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians will want to get a better look at Johnson heading into the play-offs, and also might just want to take some of the work load off his veterans, making the rookie a confident shout to put up a big performance line here.

Arizona's defense is also quite capable of scoring. and with Sam Bradford having already dished up 11 interceptions this season, I wouldn't be surprised to see Arizona's D take one all the way to the house. Whichever way you slice it though, the visitors look too strong, both physically and mentally, and should pick up the W with ease.

Recommended Bets:

3pts Arizona (-3.5) to beat Philadelphia @ 1.981/1
3pts Arizona (-1.5) to beat Philadelphia at Half Time @ 1.981/1
2pts John Brown receiving yards Over 85.5 @ 1.981/1
2pts Sam Bradford passing yards Under 245.5 @ 1.981/1
David Johnson to score 1st/anytime touchdown @ 8.07/1

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
Tuesday 01:30

In New Orleans and Detroit we have two teams with powerful offenses who simply can't score points as fast as their D's are conceding them.

Detroit (4-9) sit last in the NFC North but have shown some promise of late, beating Philly 45-14, and then losing to a hail mary against Green Bay, 27-23, on Thanksgiving Day. What a blow that was. Detroit's problem is that their defense has been woeful all season. They are simply too easy to get past. But at least their offense has started to show up, with Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson showing signs of getting back to their old selves in recent weeks.

New Orleans (5-8) have similar problems, in that they're good going forward, but terrible in defense. Their D ranks last in the NFL against the run and third worst against the pass. Given that Detroit's weapon of choice is the aerial game, then we should see a lot of passes arcing into the Saints' backfield.

Like the Lions though, New Orleans are handy on offense. Drew Brees is as good a quarterback as he's ever been. And in Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, the Saints have two small but pacy wideouts who can cut the Lions´ secondary to ribbons. Watch out in particular though for tight end Benjamin Watson. He was a late bloomer this season but has already notched seven touchdowns and is a big target in the red zone.

Tim Hightower is an able stand-in for the injured Mark Ingram at running back. But the Saints, like Detroit, prefer to go aerial. Their passing attack is the third best in the NFL. So we should be in for a barn-burning game which sees lots of points scored and leaves both QBs with sore arms.

Recommended Bets

3pts Total Points to be Over 50.5 @ 1.981/1
3pts 1st Half Points to be Over 25.5 @ 1.981/1
Benjamin Watson to score first/anytime touchdown @ 17.016/1
Calvin Johnson to score first/anytime touchdown @ 8.07/1

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