Open Secret. Found missing. Deafening silence. Football betting underdogs New England Patriots? Now you can add that to your oxymoron list. Tom Brady’s four game suspension has created a rift in the very fabric of the Universe, and given the Arizona Cardinals a very good chance of defeating the Pats as both teams open their regular season on Sunday, September 11th at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Keep in mind, though, that in the long run the Patriots remain the odds-on favorites to win the AFC championship and the Super Bowl (you can check all that odds-making goodness at www.betnow.eu).
As all football fans not living under a rock know, backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo will start under center for the Pats. Garoppolo is 20 0f 31 (64.5%) for 188 passing yards with one TD and no interceptions in 11 regular season games in two seasons in New England. During the 2016 preseason – which the Patriots finished 3-1 – Garoppolo completed 36 of 54 passing attempts (66.7%) for 406 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Of course, all of that might as well be a half-remembered dream; it could be safely argued that Garoppolo’s pro career will truly only begin when he starts for the first time with the Patriots.
As for the Cards, veteran QB Carson Palmer will be directing traffic. Palmer threw 342 of 537 (63.7%) for 4671 passing yards with 35 TDs and 11 interceptions in 2015. In the preseason – which the Cardinals finished 1-3 –, Palmer completed 12 passes of 22 attempts (54.5%) for 139 yards with 0 TDs and three interceptions. All things considered, the Cards had a deceivingly poor preseason for one of the best rosters in the league. Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is back from the torn ACL that caused him to miss the last two games of the regular season in addition to the playoffs. CB Patrick Peterson is the best in the NFL in his position. Defensive end Calais Campbell is the glue that holds the front seven together. Running back David Johnson has a bright future. One of the few issues Palmer will encounter in the regular season is which target to pick. Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd are all top-flight wide receivers.
Make no mistake; as hinted above, the Patriots are Super Bowl-bound – when they might actually battle it out with the Cards. Even with Garoppolo subbing for Brady the Pats are the football betting favorites to win three consecutive games at Gillette Stadium against the Miami Dolphins, the Houston Texans, and the Buffalo Bills. After all, Garoppolo still has head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to guide him and tight end Rob Gronkowski to throw the ball to. And then Brady will return to clean house like Clark Kent in the diner at the end of Superman II. Notwithstanding that, the Patriots will get a taste of what the fast-approaching Brady-less future holds for them when they face the Cardinals. Just like when Q brought forward Starfleet’s encounter with the Borg, and then returning the Enterprise to its last position in Federation space.