Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (+2.5)*
What was once two team heading in completely opposite directions, both appear to be hanging on to their own versions of improbable division leads. Via tiebreakers, the Falcons lead what has become the most unacceptable division race in the league in the NFC South. The Cardinals, once running away with the NFC West, lost their starting quarterback and a firm grip on the division. They still have a two-game lead with five to play, but two of those five are against the Seahawks and 49ers, the two teams chasing Arizona, one of whom will grab another win on Thursday night.
Logic would dictate that the 9-2 Cardinals would have no problems bouncing back from a tough division loss against a 4-7 Falcons team that has looked horrible all season. But the Falcons, despite their record, are looking to recover from an even more painful defeat and have everything to lose if they drop Sunday’s game. Arizona still has a two-game cushion where Atlanta has already survived much longer than it should have. After all, if the Cardinals are so decidedly better than the Falcons, why is the spread so small?
Arizona won’t survive forever with Drew Stanton at the helm, despite how well he has played in Carson Palmer‘s absence. The Falcons put together a complete game, avoid another last-second heartbreak, stay ahead of the NFC South, and win by a field goal, beating the spread.
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