Welcome back for Week 7 of Thursday Night Picks, presented by No House Advantage. Last week, we were subjected to yet another bore of a TNF game, but we did end up with a positive week. The Bears had several chances to take control of the game, but whether it was the first quarter or the final play, they found a way to blow them in typical Bears fashion. Equanimeous St. Brown wasn’t targeted in the loss, but Antonio Gibson‘s under hit despite a few big runs that gave us a scare, and we got the value play on Brian Robinson‘s first career TD to finish up 1 unit on the night.
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- One game line pick (spread or total)
- One player prop OVER via No House Advantage
- One player prop UNDER via No House Advantage
- One TD scorer
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This week’s game presents a potential turnaround for the Thursday night slot after a couple of rough ones, as the 2-4 Saints travel to Arizona to face the 2-4 Cardinals, who finally get DeAndre Hopkins back from a six-game PED suspension. The Cardinals are currently 2-point favorites at home, with the total set at 44.5.
Season Record: 11-13, -1.3 units
GAME LINE: CARDINALS -2
After an eventful offseason that included a suspension for their star wideout and a widely scrutinized clause in their franchise QB’s contract, Arizona has gotten off to a 2-4 start and are scoring just 19 points per game through six weeks.
They just lost Marquise Brown for the foreseeable future to a foot injury, but luckily for Kyler Murray and the Cards, they get Hopkins back this week, and also just made a move to acquire the disgruntled Robbie Anderson from Carolina.
The insertion of Hopkins and Anderson should provide a much-needed jolt to Arizona’s passing game, which has been league-average at best so far in 2022. It also helps that the Saints’ top corner Marshon Lattimore is expected to miss his second straight contest with an abdomen injury.
On the defensive side, the Cardinals have shown some steady improvement and haven’t allowed more than 20 points in a game since Week 2. This matchup gets even easier for their secondary as Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry are both expected to miss the game. Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston have both been listed as limited participants as well, giving little indication as to who will be starting at QB for New Orleans come Thursday.
I don’t think this one will be a blowout by any means, but Arizona has far fewer question marks surrounding them, and I’d take them down to -2.5 at home.
CHRIS OLAVE OVER 5.5 RECEPTIONS
While the QB position is still up in the air for New Orleans, it’s virtually guaranteed that both Thomas and Landry will miss this matchup. Chris Olave missed last week’s game as well as he recovered from a concussion, but he’s absent from this week’s injury report and has by all accounts been cleared to play. Olave’s been the Saints’ top receiver in 2022 and has averaged 8.4 targets per game, although that mark has dropped a bit since Winston’s injury.
Regardless of who’s under center for the Saints, Olave is the focus of their passing game and should get plenty of targets against the Cardinals.
ALVIN KAMARA UNDER 71.5 RUSHING YARDS
Through six weeks, the Cardinals boast the NFL’s seventh-best rushing defense, allowing 103.8 rushing yards per game. Kenneth Walker racked up 97 yards on them a week ago, but in previous matchups, they held Miles Sanders to 58 yards on 15 carries, Christian McCaffrey to 27 yards on eight carries, and Josh Jacobs to 69 yards on 19 carries.
Alvin Kamara has topped 99 rushing yards in his last two contests since returning from injury but has also filled the gap in New Orleans’ passing game, catching 12 passes on 15 targets for 116 yards in those games. Facing a stout rushing defense, I think Kamara will play a significant role in the passing attack, but 71 or fewer yards on the ground feels safe to me.
ANYTIME TOUCHDOWN SCORER: ZACH ERTZ +230
Unsurprisingly, most of the talk around Arizona’s offense this week surrounds Hopkins’ return and the acquisition of Anderson. But Zach Ertz can’t be ignored as one of the primary weapons in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Ertz is currently the fantasy TE3, with 35 catches for 299 yards and two TDs on the season. He’s fifth among TEs in yards and third in both targets and catches, and he’s been targeted 10-plus times in four of six games so far, with six or more catches in each of his past five games.
What really caught my eye for this prop was his red zone presence — Ertz is third among NFL tight ends in red zone targets with 11, which is more than double his closest teammate, the injured Hollywood Brown. New Orleans will spend all week worrying about Hopkins and Anderson, and Ertz should have even more red zone opportunities as a result.