One of the biggest games of the football season comes Thursday night when Green Bay heads to the Arizona desert. The game lost a little bit of firepower when all three starting Green Bay receivers went out on the Covid list. Arizona opened up as 3.5 point favorites, but the line quickly ballooned to six after news of Green Bay’s shortage of wideouts.
Arizona also lost a big playmaker on the defensive side when JJ Watt was ruled out for the season. Watt, an elite interior defender, leads the Cardinals in total pressures, and he has the third-highest pass-rush win rate among defensive linemen in the NFL.
Here is the line, via DraftKings Sportsbook:
Green Bay at Arizona
Line: Arizona (-6.5)
Can Green Bay Still move the Ball without Davonte Adams?
The oddsmakers at DraftKings downgraded Green Bay a full two points with the wide receiver's absence. That is a crazy adjustment for a non-QB.
However, Green Bay still has a first ballot Hall of Famer at QB and he will get the most out of Randall Cobb, Equanimeous St Brown, and Amari Rodgers. They will be playing an Arizona defense that ranks second overall in DVOA and they rank second against the pass. The lack of receivers may allow Green Bay to lean on their running back tandem Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. The Arizona run defense is beatable; they are allowing opponents to rush for 114 yards per game. Green Bay ranks fourth overall in offensive DVOA.
Even without Adams, Green Bay will have a matchup advantage on the outside with St.Brown. He stands at 6’5 and 215 pounds and will have a major size advantage over Arizona's corners, 6”0 Bryon Murphy or 5’10 Robert Alford. We love Brown’s prop of getting an anytime touchdown at +260. This is a legacy game for Aaron Rodgers. It would send a major statement if he could move the ball without his top 3 receivers.
On the other side, Arizona will have a chance to move the ball on the Green Bay defense. It is an interesting matchup. DeAndre Hopkins is nursing a hamstring injury, but he expects to play. Interestingly, Murray has rushed for just 17 yards in three games since he got his shoulder popped in the game against San Francisco. Murray's maturation has been his ability to spread the ball around. There's a lot of mouths to feed, from top wideout DeAndre Hopkins to deep threat Christian Kirk and veteran A.J. Green. Each receiver has racked up over 400 yards so far. Green Bay will be without top corner Jaire Alexander once again.
The area Arizona can exploit the Green Bay defense, is on the ground. Green Bay ranks 30th in opponents yards per carry. So Chase Edmunds and James Connor will be in line for huge days.
In this matchup it’s hard to pick, but if you are giving my Aaron Rodgers and 6.5 points I’m simply going to take it. It’s become more of the square pick but we will ride with it. One thing the Green Bay defense does well is they can tackle in space. Arizona’s offense is designed to stretch you sideline to sideline and this plays into Green Bay’s strength.
Also, a fun little nugget, Green Bay is 6-0 in games where Davonte Adams does not play. Expect Green Bay to be the team that is more efficient on the ground. If Green Bay can put themselves in a situation where they avoid long third downs against this aggressive Arizona pass rush, they should be fine in moving the ball. Expect Green Bay to keep this one close.
The pick: Green Bay +6.5
Aaron Jones - Anytime touchdown (-120)
This just feels like free money. Jones will be heavily involved in both the passing and running game. Green Bay will have multiple red zone opportunities and it’s hard to imagine Jones not getting into the end zone in this one.
Equanmeious Saint Brown - Any time touchdown +260:
This is a great opportunity for the former Norte Dame standout to step up. He will be a great value play in many Draftkings lineups. I think he comes through with a red zone jump ball to secure Green Bay a score.
Follow Austin on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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