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John Skelton won the Arizona Cardinals’ starting quarterback job in training camp over Kevin Kolb, but Kolb gets his chance again already after Skelton was hurt in last week’s win over Seattle. It’s a tough start for Kolb as his Cardinals are by far the biggest dogs on the board in Week 2 at New England, the current Super Bowl favorite.
When Skelton hurt his ankle vs. the Seahawks, Kolb came in and completed 6 for 8 for 66 yards, including two big passes to Larry Fitzgerald and two to tight end Todd Heap, followed by the game-winning 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts with 4:59 to play in a 20-16 victory.
The Cardinals are clearly outmatched and must establish some kind of ground attack to have a chance versus New England. Arizona had only 43 yards and 2.2 yards per attempt in Week 1. Look for offensive coordinator Mike Miller to use multiple formations to spread the Patriots out. He wants to use his running-back-by-committee of Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams and LaRod Stephens-Howling to limit the Patriots’ explosive offense.
The Pats had no trouble in a 34-13 win at Tennessee. Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champions won their ninth straight season-opening win Sunday. It’s the longest current streak in the league. Brady has 125 career victories in 160 starters, the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the milestone. Running back Stevan Ridley had a breakout performance with 21 carries for 125 yards at Tennessee. Rob Gronkowski caught six balls for 60 yards and a score.
New England has won five straight vs. the Cardinals but the teams haven’t played since 2008 and Brady missed that game.
WAGERWEB.COM ODDS: Patriots -13.5 (48)
CARDINALS NOTES: QB Kevin Kolb completed 6 of 8 (75 pct.) for 66 yards & threw game-winning TD in relief last week. Is 3rd in NFL with 138.5 4th Q rating … RB Beanie Wells has rush TD in 2 of past 3 vs. AFC … WR Larry Fitzgerald has 697 catches & can become youngest to reach 700. Since 2005, leads NFL in rec. yards (8,898) & rec. TDs (65). In last game vs. NE, had 3 catches for 101 yards (33.7 avg.) & TD. His 33.7 avg. was highest in his career for single game with 100 yards. WR Andre Roberts had TD catch last week & has TD in 3 of past 5 … Pass def. ranks 3rd in NFC (139.0 yards per game). S Adrian Wilson had INT last week. Is 1 of 5 S in NFL history with 20 sacks (22.5) & 25 INTs (27). CB-PR Patrick Peterson has 4 80 yard PR-TDs in career & needs 1 to tie career record of 5 (Devin Hester, Eric Metcalf). Avg. 15.3 yards per PR, highest among active players (min. 40 PR). Since 2007, DT Darnell Dockett has 28.5 sacks, most by DT. LB Daryl Washington had sack last week. Is 1 of 5 NFL players with 6 sacks (6) & 2 INTs (2) since 2011. DE Calais Campbell has sack in 3 of past 6 games.
PATRIOTS NOTES: Club is 10-0 at Gillette Stadium in home openers … NE is 38-10 (.792) vs. NFC in reg. sea. under HC Bill Belichick. Belichick (193) needs win to surpass HOFer Chuck Knox (193) for 8th most among head coaches in NFL history … QB Tom Brady registered 125th career win as starter last week & reached milestone in fewest starts (160) in NFL history. Has won 35 of past 36 starts at home with 75 TDs vs. 18 INTs & 106.2 passer rating. Has thrown TD pass in 33 straight games … RB Stevan Ridley rushed for career-best 125 yards on 21 att. (6 avg.) & registered 2nd career TD run last week vs. Ten … WR Wes Welker (557) needs catch to surpass TROY BROWN (557) for most in club history … TE Rob Gronkowski has 18 TD catches in past 17 games. TE Aaron Hernandez had 23-yard TD catch last week … Rookie DE Chandler Jones (No. 21 overall) registered FF vs. Ten., leading to 6-yard FR-TD by rookie LB Dont’a Hightower (No. 25 overall). Rookie CB Tavon Wilson (2nd round, No. 48) had INT in NFL debut.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Cardinals are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 2. Cardinals are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall. Cardinals are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 road games. Patriots are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 2. Over is 6-1 in Patriots last 7 games in September. Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.