New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals
The New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals kick off the 2012 NFL Pre-Season as they face off in Canton for the Hall of Fame game. The Cardinals are -3 point favorites over the Saints with an over/under point total set at 35.5.
After last year’s Hall of Fame game was cancelled, it resumes once again this season and while it’s the first pre-season game of the year, well who isn’t chomping at the bit to just catch a peek at any kind of NFL Football. Of course we’ll see some of the NFL’s stars in thios one but unfortunately, we’ll mostly see them yucking it up on the sideline. While I don’t put too much into Pre-season, I do like to look at team’s depth as over the course of a 16 game regular season, depth comes into play in a big way as it is a numbers game and no matter where a player is on an NFL depth chart, more than likely he will play at some point in some role this season.
The New Orleans Saints will be looking to get the feel of a new man on the sideline with Sean Payton suspended for the year it will be Joe Vitt making the big decisions on the field. One thing Vitt doesn’t have to worry about is talent with Drew Brees signed and ready and with a stable of running backs five deep he has a lot to work with. While the Saints have been banged up at running back over the years so in this one look for us to see plenty of Chris Ivory, Travaris Cadet, and Joe Banyard while Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Darren Sproles see little action at best. It takes a lot to keep Drew Brees off of the field but it will happen here for the most part because after a series it will be Chase Daniel and in the second half a lot of Sean Canfield and Luke McCown. Adrian Arrington, Courtney Roby, Nick Toon, Derek Moye, and Chris Givens all figure to see action here as well while Marquis Colston and Devry Henderson will just be props here. With Jimmy Graham the star at Tight End, he won’t play much, it will be David Thomas, Mike Higgins, and Derek Schouman competing for playing time. Defensively with Jon Vilma gone for the year with his suspension we may see a little more of the starting unit though Curtis Lofton is a proven verteran. Jonathan Casillas, Chris Chamberlain and other backers will get some looks and Junior Galette will get some work as he will be called upon to fill in for Will Smith who is suspended the first four games.
The Arizona Cardinals were the hottest team in the NFL the second half of last year winning seven of their last nine games including splitting with the NFC runner up San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals are more likely to give QB’s who have some experience more playing time in this one as they need the work and the position is unsettled. Kevin Kolb makes a ton of money but it was John Skelton at the helm when the team had its best results and while we should see Ryan Lindley and Richard Bartel, it won’t be as much as we would expect to see backups on other teams. With Beanie Wells on the PUP list Ryan Williams will get a chance to show how he came out of last year’s injury where he missed the season and look for LaRod Stephens Howling, Alfonso Smith, and Javarris James all to get carries. Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald will get some work as will Early Doucet and Andre Roberts but more than likely the Cardinals will see if LaRon Byrd is someone who can contribute as well as Isaiah Williams. Defensively the Cardinals get after the passer as well if not better than anyone and last year they found some real jewels in the middle of their draft class so look for them to see if they have found any more. We may see some of Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Paris Lennon, Sam Acho, Patrick Peterson, and Adrian Wilson, more than likely we will see some young players looking to make this team who has very few open spots on the defensive side of the ball.
One thing I know about preseason is most coaches don’t care all that much about the result and they just don’t want to have any injuries but when it comes down to it if the game is close, all of the sudden winning matters. I won’t be touching too many of the preseason games, especially not the first week or so but giving a pick here I like the Cardinals as their QB’s that will see time have more meaningful experience and I like their pass rush which is key against inexperienced QB’s which New Orleans will be going with.
Arizona Cardinals -3 New Orleans Saints