The late NFL card on Sunday sees the Kansas City Chiefs on a difficult road trip to start their season vs. the Arizona Cardinals.
Here at OddsTrader, we are going to break down this blockbusting encounter that starts the season between two of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL last year.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium
- Spread: Chiefs -4.5 – Cardinals +4.5
- Total: 53.5
Kansas Need to Establish Themselves as New Chiefs
There have been changes at Arrowhead since last year, especially on the offense with the lightning-fast Tyreek Hill moving to the Miami Dolphins.
The Chiefs have brought in JuJu Smith-Schuster on a one-year deal worth just over $10,000,000 from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With all due respect, Hill leaving could leave quite a hole up front despite Smith-Schuster being an able deputy, but a period of growing an understanding with Patrick Mahomes could be required.
With Mahomes as the quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs are perennially going to be strong contenders for the top honors and Andy Reid has always been one of the best offensive head coaches in the NFL.
It was noticeable that last year for the Kansas City Chiefs, was never really as impressive as previous seasons, but they timed their run to the AFC Conference final well, only to be denied by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Can the Cardinals Sustain?
No doubt, last season was a huge breakthrough for the Arizona Cardinals with Kyler Murray leading an early charge. I’m reasonably sure they were the last team to be unbeaten in the NFL last year, if not they were close.
What we do know is that the Arizona Cardinals were quick out of the blocks, ‘on the B of the Bang’.
That early form, especially with Kyler Murray at quarterback – who struck up a profitable partnership with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins – took them to clear leaders in the NFC West over the eventual Super Bowl winners, LA Rams.
An injury at the end of the regular season schedule to Hopkins certainly contributed to a poor finish to their year as they went out of the Playoffs with barely a whimper to the L.A. Rams, funnily enough.
How Do the Chiefs and the Cards Match Up?
This is a difficult match to analyze, as these two teams cross swords very rarely in the NFL. We have to go back to 2018 for the last time they met.
Defensive mainstay, J.J. Watt missed the opening two pre-season games for the Cardinals due to Covid-19 so he could be a little undercooked at the start of the campaign, but Budda Baker had a breakout year at safety last season.
I don’t expect scoring points to be a problem for the Cardinals given Kyler Murray at quarterback has the influential James Conner at running back still. Add in a slew of top receivers with A.J. Green signing a one-year deal to join Marquis Brown, also on a one-year contract.
What Should We Expect From This Game?
With that perspective and home-field advantage, we can expect the Cardinals to be threatening.
We also know from experience that the Chiefs can be a little loose defensively almost by design in the early games.
Defensive coach, Steve Spagnuolo is well respected and known for seeing the other teams’ strengths as the season progresses and then using that knowledge to formulate defensive plans week to week. That was certainly the case last year as the Kansas City Chiefs only started to look like themselves after seven or eight matches.
Like Murray, Patrick Mahomes’ abilities are well known for putting points on the board and he has running back Travis Kelce to support him as normal but without Tyreek Hill the changes in the attack line could take a while to form an understanding.
This looks like an excellent match for the opening week as we see these two sides’ campaigns for Super Bowl LVII get underway. I believe the overs maybe plays but the line is set high enough for week 1.
I like the Arizona Cardinals to hit the ground running like they did last season. They have Kyler Murray rested and he did look a little fatigued as last year reached its climax.
I am not sure that I would make Arizona such a big dog as +4.5 and that makes the money line an attractive price of +175 at Caesars.
Split stakes between money line and spread at Caesars on the Arizona Cardinals.
NFL Pick: Arizona Cardinals ML (+175) at Caesars
NFL Pick: Arizona Cardinals +4.5 (-110) at Caesars