Looking at the schedule, I found very few contendersfor a real upset special. There were a couple of close lines that I was curious about, but I got burned by that last week by my Ravens. So rather than pick the underdog with a close line, I'm going full-blown Upset this week with:
Houston Texans @ Arizona Cardinals
Line: Cardinals by 5 1/2
Laying 5 1/2 points AT HOME against a struggling Houston team isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the Cardinals. Arizona is coming off a bye week, so you have to think coach Ken Whisenhunt worked them pretty hard on the little things that cost them 2 of their first 3 games. The Cards looked muddled and inconsistent so far, while Houston has rebounded from a miserable start against the Jets to get their offense clicking and showing some real fight.
This is not one of those games which will be decided on the ground. Neither team runs the ball particularly well, and neither is exactly adept at stopping the run. No, much like the Colts/Cardinals Sunday Nighter of yesterweek, this should be an absolute air-show. If you like good wide receivers, tune in to this beast. Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Anquan Boldin are likely to put on a great show. Points will be plentiful, and the NFL Films highlight reels will be burning up after this one.
After a great postseason performance, Arizona's defense seems to have really come back to earth in 2009. They have been vulnerable to big passing plays, haven't been amazing run-stuffers, and just have generally underachieved. While they spent their bye week (hopefully) fixing problems, Houston's offense has been finding their rhythm against better defenses than Arizona's. The Texans' D, of course, isn't quite a wonder to write home about. They have been miserable against the run, which is moot against a Cardinals team with an aversion to running the football. Their secondary is decent and, when healthy, Dunta Robinson is a pretty good corner. I think Houston's D is up to the task, and the suddenly-mortal Cardinals are still unable to find their way.