The New England Patriots put on a poor performance the last time they stood under the prime-time spotlight. Now they cross the country for a Monday Night Football matchup with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.
New England had an extended break to get the bad taste of a Thursday night beatdown from Buffalo out of its mouth and heads to the desert in desperate need of a win, sitting outside of the AFC playoff picture entering this week.
As for Arizona, it has one lonely win in its last five outings and this non-conference clash is one of only two home games remaining on the schedule. The Cardinals’ late-season slumps are becoming NFL lore among bettors, with head coach Kliff Kingsbury holding a 6-10 straight up record and 6-9-1 against the spread mark once the calendar flips to December.
I break down the point spread and Over/Under total for Monday Night Football and give my best NFL betting picks and predictions for the Patriots vs. Cardinals on December 12.
Patriots vs Cardinals best odds
Patriots vs Cardinals picks and predictions
There’s no shortage of critics when it comes to the New England Patriots' offense and chief among it is QB Mac Jones, who took a more tactful approach to his criticism heading into Week 14 after being caught screaming, “Throw the f-ing ball” during the team’s loss to Buffalo two Thursdays ago. But while Jones watched his words, Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph did not.
When it came to discussing New England’s pop-gun attack, Joseph pointed the finger at the offensive play calling of Matt Patricia — the defensive coordinator turned… whatever Bill Belichick lets him do now — saying he runs the offense “how a defensive guy would call offensive plays”, with a passive attack more worried about turning the ball over and chewing up clock than moving the chains.
While I don’t expect this Patriots unit to come out slinging it, I do expect the mini bye provided by the schedule to help New England fine tune the passing game. And on the receiving end of plenty of those passes will be tight end, Hunter Henry.
Henry sits third on the team in targets (39) behind running back Rhamondre Stevenson and receiver Jakobi Meyers (concussion), who will be missing from the Pats’ WR corps Monday night. That could mean more work for Henry, especially with Arizona coming after Jones with one of the most blitz-heavy defenses in the NFL and the TE acting as a pressure release.
Henry’s receiving yards total for Week 14 sits as low as 28.5 yards following some erratic efforts from him in recent weeks. However, he’s surpassed fellow TE Jonnu Smith as the primary option of this offense (77.3% of snaps) and everything is lining up for Henry to have a big night in the desert.
He’s coming off a 13-yard receiving performance against the Bills in Week 13, catching only two of five passes his way. But while that outing is dragging down his receiving yards prop, it’s perfectly excusable as Buffalo boasts a talented group of coverage linebackers and ranks No. 2 in DVOA vs. tight ends.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, do not. Arizona has given up the most yards to TEs this season (880 on 83 catches) and sit 30th in DVOA against the position at Football Outsiders. The last time New England played a blitz-happy defense like the Cards, Henry snagged four of five targets for 54 yards receiving against the Detroit Lions in Week 5.
That game served as a tipping off point for the Patriots’ tight end, who has since posted efforts of 54, 61, 50 and 63 yards in his last eight games (averaging 36.8 yards in that span) — going well Over his receiving yards total in half of those contests.
Henry is averaging 3.75 targets per game in that span and has been used more in the slot and as a receiver out of the backfield in the past three games, moving the 6-foot-5, 250-pound target around to create mismatches versus slower LBs or smaller defensive backs.
Henry’s biggest day, a 63-yard performance against Minnesota in Week 12, came indoors with Jones throwing a season-high 39 passes for 382 yards on the fast track of U.S. Bank Stadium. And Henry should have walked away with more yardage, if not for a 6-yard touchdown catch that was called back. We could see the Pats pick up where they left off with Monday’s contest under the dome at State Farm Stadium.
The potential for big passing numbers is there for this offense and considering Arizona’s soft spot for TEs, Henry’s workload likely increasing with Meyers missing, and Jones and Patricia now having extra incentive to pile up the passing yards against Joseph’s defense, I like Henry to go Over his receiving yards prop total of 28.5 on Monday Night Football.
My best bet: Hunter Henry Over 28.5 receiving yards (-114)
Patriots vs Cardinals
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Patriots vs Cardinals spread analysis
This point spread hit the board as low as a pick’em at some sportsbooks and quickly moved to New England -1. That spread ran as high as Patriots -2 on Sunday morning before buyback on the home underdog settled in at -1.5.
While Arizona is coming off a bye week, the Patriots have also enjoyed time off after playing on Thursday night in Week 13 — giving New England 11 days between games. That non-conference clash is very much a must-win for the Cardinals, who at 4-8 SU are showing major cracks in the foundations of the franchise with the GM and head coach under extreme criticism.
New England enters as one of the defensive elites in the league, ranked No. 3 in EPA per play allowed as well as third in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders. The last time the Cardinals ran into a stop unit this stingy, they mustered only 10 points in a bad loss to the rival 49ers in Mexico City in Week 11.
Arizona’s offense was supposed to be among the strongest in the NFL, especially with the return of WR DeAndre Hopkins. However, this attack has fallen well short of expectations, namely QB Kyler Murray. He enters Week 14 among the Bottom 10 in many advanced quarterback metrics and at the wheel of an offense sitting 24th in points per play.
Patriots vs Cardinals Over/Under analysis
This Over/Under total opened at 44 points and has bobbed around that mark most of the week, climbing to 45 before sinking down to 43.5 points later in the week.
This number reflects the Patriots’ style of play, with a drum-tight defense and erratic offense that sits 27th in EPA per play on the year. New England boasts the worst red-zone offense in the NFL, scoring touchdowns on a league-low 37.5% of trips inside the 20-yard line.
The Cardinals’ defense loves to cook up chaos, with a pass rush that brings extra attackers more than 35% of dropbacks (third highest blitz rate). That’s created the fifth-highest pressure rate in the league but has manifested itself into only 23 total sacks on the year.
New England’s offensive line has been plagued with injuries and has starters expected to miss Monday’s game. Quarterback Mac Jones has been sacked 25 times heading into Week 14 but 20 of those have come in his last five starts. Jones is dismal under pressure and when blitzed, completing only 43.8% of passes for an average of 4.3 yards per attempt.
New England enters Week 14 with a 5-7 O/U mark on the year, including 3-3 O/U on the road. Arizona is 7-5 O/U overall, with a 4-2 O/U count at home.
BetMGM books are reporting 73% of bets and 89% of money on the Under for Monday Night Football.
Patriots vs Cardinals same-game parlay
Henry Over 28.5 rec yards (-114) + Murray anytime TD (+290) + Murray Over 34.5 rushing yards (-114)
Henry plays a big role in a Patriots’ passing attack that picks up the pace and goes after the worst defense against tight ends in the league. The Patriots' pass rush turns up the heat with the second-highest pressure rate in the NFL, which means Murray will be running for his life on plenty of snaps.
He’s eclipsed this Week 14 rushing yards bar in five of his last six starts and will also find paydirt with his crazy legs, much like fellow mobile QBs Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson did against New England earlier this year.
MNF SGP odds: +1,030 at FanDuel
Patriots vs Cardinals betting trend to know
Patriots' HC Bill Belichick is 62-49-3 ATS from Week 13 to the final regular season game during his tenure in New England (since 2000), winning 71% of those late-season games. But since Tom Brady bounced for Tampa, the Hoodie is just 4-7 SU and ATS (36%) in those closing weeks of the schedule.. Find more NFL betting trends for Patriots vs. Cardinals.
Patriots vs Cardinals game info
|Location:||State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ|
|Date:||Sunday, December 11, 2022|
|Kickoff:||8:15 p.m. ET|
|Opening odds:||Cardinals +1, 44|