Chiefs vs Cardinals Week 1: Updated Spread, Picks, Prediction

Chiefs vs Cardinals Week 1: Updated Spread, Picks, Prediction article feature image

William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.

  • The Chiefs are -6.5 in their Week 1 matchup against the Cardinals.
  • Arizona has been hit hard by the injury bug throughout the preseason and training camp.
  • Cody Goggin breaks down the matchup and explains his betting pick below.

Chiefs vs. Cardinals Odds

Sunday, Sept. 11
4:25 p.m. ET
Chiefs Odds
-110o / -110u
Cardinals Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Having a multitude of injuries is never good, but having them in week one is about the worst case scenario.

The Arizona Cardinals face this scenario this week as they have a ton of key injuries, particularly cluster injuries in key positions. If they weren’t facing the Kansas City Chiefs, these issues may not have been as pronounced, but a team like the Chiefs will be able to take advantage of this.

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Chiefs vs. Cardinals Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Chiefs and Cardinals match up statistically:

Chiefs vs. Cardinals DVOA Breakdown (Stats from 2021)
Overall DVOA36
Pass DVOA35
Rush DVOA106
Overall DVOA1524
Pass DVOA923
Rush DVOA2220

Offensively, the Cardinals aren’t in a much better place. Kody Ford, who was recently acquired from the Buffalo Bills, was ruled out this week after aggravating his ankle injury. He’s not expected to be a starter so this wouldn’t typically be notable, except it is this week because starting left guard Justin Pugh is questionable with a neck injury.

In a joint practice a couple of weeks ago, it was Ford who filled in for Pugh when he was injured. Keeping the interior pressure from Kyler will be crucial to his success this weekend.

Kyler will likely have issues finding targets to throw to though and may spend more time in the pocket or on the run. Three of his expected top four targets may miss this game. It’s not a new development that DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first four games of the season. His absence though will be exacerbated by the injuries to Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz though.

Ertz is questionable with a calf injury and was a limited participant in practice on Friday. Moore suffered a hamstring injury in practice on Thursday and has already been ruled out. This will leave Kyler with Marquise Brown, A.J. Green, Andy Isabella, Greg Dortch, and Antoine Wesley as his top receiving options and either rookie Trey McBride or Maxx Williams as his top tight end.

Stopping Patrick Mahomes from putting points on the board will be the larger issue for Arizona. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton is out after being injured in a freak cooking incident during the preseason. Recent acquisition Trayvon Mullen is out with a toe injury and star corner Byron Murphy is questionable with an illness.

Being able to stop the Chiefs offense, particularly the new-look attack with multiple receiving options, would require multiple talented defensive backs, which the Cardinals may be lacking on Sunday. J.J. Watt is also questionable for this weekend, possibly leaving more time for Mahomes to find a receiver.

We all know how good the Chiefs offense is, but it seems like lately they have somehow become underrated. Since Mahomes took over at quarterback in 2018, the Chiefs passing offense has been on another level:

Tyreek Hill is great, but he’s not the sole reason that this Chiefs offense succeeds. Having multiple receiving options in town now with Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Skyy Moore all added, this may actually make the Chiefs even harder to stop as there is a chance there will be at least one open man on every single play.

Against backup corners and a pass rush that loses Chandler Jones and potentially J.J. Watt, I don’t see any way that Mahomes and the Chiefs offense don’t succeed in this one.

The Kansas City defense isn’t a powerhouse by any means, but they will be improved in 2022. George Karlaftis and Carlos Dunlap will provide some much-needed pass rush help. Tyrann Mathieu’s departure is a big deal, but the last two years he has a 67.3 PFF defensive grade or lower and may be on the downside of his career.

The additions of Justin Reid and Trent McDuffie will bring new blood to this secondary that desperately needed a rebuild. I don’t expect them to be at their best to start the season, but against a banged-up Cardinals team, they may be able to get going sooner.

Betting Picks

This play is mostly based on the heavy number of cluster injuries at key position groups that Arizona is experiencing. The spread for this game was around three points but has risen to six at the time of writing.

Four and five aren’t key numbers so this isn’t a huge move, but it’s still worth noting. I want to get this line before it gets to seven or higher in the event that the injury report is bad for the Cardinals, so I would recommend grabbing this soon.

Pick: Chiefs -5.5 | Bet to -6.5

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