NFL Football Betting: San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals

NFL Football Betting:  San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals

The 2014 NFL season is underway and Week 1 concludes on Monday night with a pair of games. In this write up we’ll take a look at the late game between the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. The Chargers are coming off of a season that began poorly and ended well. San Diego began the 2013 season going 5-7 before winning their last 4 games to qualify for the playoffs. Once there they pulled a Wild Card Round upset over the Cincinnati Bengals before being eliminated by the Denver Broncos. Arizona was the best team that *didn’t* make the playoffs–they finished 10-6 but had the bad fortune of playing in the toughest division in football, the NFC West.

Last year Arizona finally found a starting quarterback after years of frustration–Carson Palmer revived his career throwing for a personal best 4,274 yards. Of course he has one of the best wide receivers in the business in Larry Fitzgerald to work with but also did a good job getting Michael Floyd involved in the offense. The biggest question in Arizona was their biggest strength last season–the Cardinals’ top 10 defense has several holes to fill heading in to the season. Most problematic is the loss of lineman Darnell Dockett–he’s not only one of the best in the league at his position but the emotional leader of the defensive unit. The jury is out on the Cardinals’ defense for the moment with some hopeful that other players can step up while others are fearing the worst.

The biggest loss in San Diego was offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt who is now the head coach at Tennessee. Phillip Rivers quietly had a monster season completing 69.5 percent of his passes for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns. It remains to be seen if he can keep up that kind of performance under new OC (and former Buffalo backup behind Jim Kelly) Frank Reich. Reich has been QB coach so in theory he should have a good relationship with Rivers who will also benefit from getting key receiver Malcom Floyd back after he missed all of last year with a neck injury.

On paper this is an even matchup but we see more ‘downside potential’ with Arizona than with San Diego. The Chargers were a great pointspread team last year and cleaned up as an underdog (8-2-1 ATS).