NFL Week 7 Thursday Night Football: Saints and Cardinals Looking to Bounce Back

Alvin Kamara New Orleans Saints running back
Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints runs with the ball against the Carolina Panthers during Week 3 at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2022. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

A pair of 2-4 teams try to get back on track with a win on Thursday night. The New Orleans Saints travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. The Saints blew a late lead to fall to Cincinnati and now face a decision at quarterback, while the Cardinals lost their second straight with their worst offensive performance of the season.

At The RX we take a look at this matchup to determine a winning NFL pick to start Week 7 with a payday.

New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals

Thursday, October 20, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium

Spread: -2½ (-110)

Over/Under: 44½ (-110)

The Saints blew a late lead and saw failures on offense and special teams produce a loss to Cincinnati in Week 6. Despite their struggles, the Saints are just a game out of first place in the NFC South, but they have a decision to make at quarterback.

The Cardinals lost their second straight game and fell into last place, but are just a game out of a three-way tie for first in the NFC West. They had their worst offensive outing of the season in a loss to the Seahawks on Sunday.

Quarterback Quandary

The Saints got injured starting quarterback Jameis Winston back in uniform on Sunday, although he didn’t see any playing time.

New Orleans went with backup Andy Dalton, who has started the last 3 games since Winston went down with back and ankle problems. Dalton had a chance to run out the clock and get a win with a pair of first downs but, instead, the Saints had a three-and-out, their first since the start of the game, allowing the Bengals to score to take the lead. Dalton then threw three straight incompletions and got sacked in the Saints’ last-ditch drive.

That dropped Dalton to 1-2 as a starter (the same record as Winston) and clouded the picture going forward at quarterback.

“He’s not 100 percent healthy,” coach Dennis Allen said of Winston. “We have a Thursday night game. Let’s get into study on that, see where he is at, and then we will go from there.”

Several Changes Due to Injuries

Whoever starts on Thursday will likely have a better selection of targets than Dalton did on Sunday. Receivers Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry all missed the game with injuries. The team seemed hopeful that some or all of them would be ready by Thursday.

Clouding the injury picture on offense even further, the team lost tight end Adam Trautman and left guard Andrus Peat with injuries during the game. Both left and didn’t return. The Saints had to play a rookie who spent training camp playing right tackle to replace Peat at left guard.

Offensive Outage

Playing against a Seattle team that had the second-worst scoring defense in the NFL, the Cardinals were unable to score an offensive touchdown in a 19-9 loss. The Seahawks also had the league’s worst run defense, but Arizona managed just 144 yards on the ground, and 100 of those were from quarterback Kyler Murray. The Seahawks also sacked Murray six times.

Arizona was without 3 of their running backs, as James Conner, Darrel Williams, and Jonathan Ward all missed the game. Ward is on injured reserve, although the team will monitor the other two this week.

Receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown also went down with an ankle injury during the game, although the team reported afterward that x-rays on the ankle were negative. Still, his status will be up in the air, and his absence would help to nullify the return of DeAndre Hopkins, who is scheduled to make his season debut after serving a six-game suspension.

The Arizona defense had another strong effort that was wasted. They recorded six sacks, scored the team’s only touchdown on the day, and held explosive receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in check, but all it produced was the Cardinals’ third loss this season where they’ve held opponents to 19 or 20 points.

The Pick

The Saints’ defense has allowed 30-plus points in back-to-back weeks, but the chance to face the Arizona offense should help New Orleans get well. The Saints are a slight road dog but would be favored on a neutral field.

Look for whichever quarterback gets the start to put up enough points to outscore the punchless Cardinals.

NFL Pick: Saints (+1.5) at FanDuel