Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 9/11/12

The Patriots opened as 13.5-point favorites as they host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2.

This line is tremendous, enormous, mammoth and colossal all at the same time. Why? Part of the reason Arizona is getting no respect from the public is due to their quarterback situation. Watching Skelton and Kolb duke it out for the starting gig this summer was like staring at two Double Whoppers in front of Vince Wilfork – you know the likely result, and you also know that it won’t be pretty to watch. And now the “winner” of that competition is out several weeks with an ankle injury, thrusting the least desirable option into action. For Arizona fans, it’s gotta feel like banging the second-thinnest girl in Houston. And lest we forget the struggles of teams who are forced to travel from west to east to play an early game. Given these factors, and coupled with New England’s thrashing of the Titans, it’s easy to justify spotting the Cards two TDs before these teams ever take the field.

The public is likely to back New England in this one, and the bookmakers know it. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the Cardinals haven’t lost a game to a non-playoff team since October 9 of last year. Five of their eight losses last year were by 7 points or less, and they scored quality wins last fall against the Eagles and Cowboys. If Kolb can complete enough passes to his own players and limit turnovers, the Cardinals should be able to keep this one from becoming a laugher. And go ahead and raise your hand if you’re looking forward to seeing Devin McCourty try to cover Larry Fitzgerald, particularly in the late stages of the game if the Patriots happen to be nursing a two- or three-score lead.

Bettors who wade into the murky seas of impossibly large point spreads know all too well the sinking feeling as the underdog marches down the field in the final minutes for a score that is meaningless in the win column, but significant in terms of the spread. I have a feeling we’ll see that scenario play out this week. I like the Patriots to win comfortably, but the Cardinals to just barely cover the spread.

Other Lines I Like

Redskins (-3) @ Rams

This line looks so good, it terrifies me. The Rams kept things close against the Lions, but that was only due to a +3 turnover margin. Against a below-average Lions defense, they mustered just 256 total yards and 16 points despite winning the field position battle. They aren’t as good as the Week 1 score would indicate. And do you want to bet against RG3 after he just set a rookie record for the highest quarterback rating in an opener? Knowing that we’re probably only weeks away from a Subway “RG3 …. 3 dollar …. 3 dollar footlooooong” promotion? I think not. I’m betting on youthful exuberance and cheap subs.

Steelers (-6.5) vs. Jets

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend for a minute that the Bills didn’t turn the ball over 4 times last week and set the Jets up for lots of easy points. And while we’re at it, can we also visit the Land of Make Believe, where the Bills have some semblance of a secondary, and even throw in a few nice complementary pieces in the passing game? You bet your ass we can, because it’s my column and I’ll do what I want! In that scenario, how many points does the Jets offense score? Maybe 17? Or 21, at best? Do they even win that game? New York’s 48 points in Week 1 was a whole lot of smoke and mirrors with a hearty helping of mirage. They won’t get half that many points on the road against a playoff team. The Steelers are 10-6 against the spread at home since 2010, and they have more options in the passing game than the Jets can cover.

2012 record ATS 5-2

Overall record ATS (since 2010) 77-68-4

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