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Nover: Cardinals an ATS Team to Watch

The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers draw much of the media attention. But there's another unbeaten NFL team that has a decent chance of going 8-0 before their bye week.

I speak of the Arizona Cardinals.

It's not the Tom Brady-led Patriots, nor the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers, who lead the NFL in points. It's the Cardinals, averaging a staggering 42 points per game.

Given how poorly Andrew Luck has played, you can make the argument that Carson Palmer is the third-best quarterback in the NFL behind Rodgers and Brady. Arizona is 16-2 in Palmer's last 18 starts.

Cardinals Favored by Touchdown Over Rams

The Cardinals are a touchdown home favorite against St. Louis on Sunday. Arizona is 10-2-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last 13 home games.

Bruce Arians has done a super job with the Cardinals. There hasn't been a better ATS coach the past couple of seasons. But there is a bogus quality to the Cardinals.

Arizona has built its 3-0 record dispatching New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco. Those teams are a combined 1-8.

The Saints, Bears and 49ers rank as three of the four worst teams in the league by NFL.com power rankings. The Gold Sheet ratings have the Bears and Tampa Bay with the lowest power ranking followed by the 49ers, Jacksonville and Cleveland.

Favorable Schedule for Cards in Weeks Ahead

Yet, the Cardinals' schedule still lays out highly favorable.

After the Rams, the Cardinals play at Detroit in Week 5. The Lions will be on a short week and likely to be 0-4, demoralized and worn down from having played the Seahawks in Seattle Monday night.

The Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh in Week 6. The Steelers aren't likely to have Ben Roethlisberger back by then.

Following that game, the Cardinals get Baltimore at home. The Ravens entered their Thursday road matchup against the Steelers 0-3.

Then in Week 8 the Cardinals are on the road to meet hapless Cleveland.

So an 8-0 start is possible for the Cardinals. Just keep in mind, the Cardinals' final three regular season games are against the Eagles in Philadelphia, Packers and Seahawks. If the Cardinals win those games, then it will be time to be highly impressed.

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