Arizona (-6.5) at Jacksonville

The Jaguars pulled a Muhammad Ali and shook up the world by winning at Tennessee last week, despite registering just 13 first downs and getting 180 passing yards out of QB Chad Henne, as they capitalized on four Tennessee turnovers.

It wasn’t pretty, for sure, but Jags fans, players, and coaches probably don’t care as long as Jacksonville can now say it will avoid the fate of the 2008 Lions, who will remain the NFL’s only 0-16 team for at least another year.

The Cardinals have been hot lately, winning four of their last six, and come into this game at 5-4 and in the thick of the NFC playoff chase. Arizona has been doing it primarily with defense, as it ranks:

  • No. 4 in Defensive Rusher Rating
  • No. 11 in Defensive Passer Rating
  • No. 10 on the Defensive Hog Index
  • No. 7 in Defensive Real Passing YPA,
  • and No. 6 in Defensive Real QB Rating

It's a nice set of defensive rankings across the board.

Those numbers have helped to mask the fact that Arizona’s big offseason acquisition, QB Carson Palmer, has been a disappointment. Palmer has just a 74.5 passer rating and has thrown 15 interceptions to just 12 TD passes.

As for this game, it’s clear that Arizona has the advantage, and by a wide margin, just about everywhere you look. The only question is can Arizona cover the spread? The Cardinals are just 1-3 on the road this year and have allowed 25 PPG in their four road games.

Still, these are the Jaguars we’re talking about here. They are not likely to generate much offense against the stout Arizona defense, and probably aren’t going to benefit from four turnovers again this week.

Pick: Arizona 24, Jacksonville 14