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Cardinals vs. Saints: ‘Thursday Night Football’ pick and open thread

At least it’s not the Broncos

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Thursday Night Football gods must be upset with the world. Tonight, we have another game that features two of the league’s underperforming teams to this point of the season. The New Orleans Saints travel to the valley to take on the Arizona Cardinals in a clash of 2-4 teams. The good folks over at DraftKings Sportsbook have this game favored for the Cardinals by 2.5 points, which essentially accounts for home-field advantage.

The Cardinals are looking to pick things up offensively. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is back after serving a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs—and his return couldn’t come at a better time, as the team can surely use his talents. Quarterback Kyler Murray hasn’t looked much like a $230 million player, and wide receiver Marquise Brown is now out indefinitely with an ankle injury. The team recently acquired disgruntled wideout Robbie Anderson from the Carolina Panthers after Anderson appeared to aggressively approach one of his coaches, leading to a benching from interim head coach Steve Wilks. The team traded Anderson the next morning.

As far as the New Orleans Saints go, the injury bug has certainly made its presence felt. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore, receiver Jarvis Landry, and receiver Michael Thomas are all out. Quarterback Jameis Winston has no injury designation for this game, but all signs point toward Andy Dalton getting the start at QB again, with Taysom Hill serving the hybrid QB/TE role. Running back Alvin Kamara has shown he’s still one of the league’s best running backs, but he’s going to be running behind a banged-up offensive line, as starting guard Andrus Peat is out as well.

This game really comes down to Murray and Hopkins. If Hopkins can jump back in this offense and pick up the chemistry that was displayed before his injuries last season, we should be able to see the best offensive performance from the Cards so far this season. If not, it will be more of the same from the first six weeks of the season. Defensively, J.J. Watt and company do enough to keep the game close, but Murray knows “kicking field goals gets you beat.”

I’m going to go with the home team tonight. Head coach Kliff Kingbury is expected to have this team ready to perform, and he hasn’t done so since Hopkins went out due to injury last season. Hopefully for Cardinals fans, the return of Hopkins spells offense—and plenty of it. Cardinals cover the spread and win at home.