A pair of underachieving 2-4 teams face off Thursday night when the Arizona Cardinals host the New Orleans Saints.
Maybe a winner can turn the season around.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have DeAndre Hopkins back for the first time since a knee injury that sidelined him for the final three games of last season and a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy delayed his return.
Arizona is 3-9 in its last 12 games since a 10-2 start in 2021. Hopkins’ injuries and absence from the lineup coincided with that slide.
“I hope he can just provide a spark,” Cardinals coach Kilff Kingsbury said. “The way he competes and his game, his stuff after the catch, he’s a guy you get close to making a play on the ball.”
The Saints expect leading receiver Chris Olave to return after missing the game with a concussion, but are dealing with several injuries. They averaged 30 points with backup quarterback Andy Dalton while going 1-2 in their last three games. The two losses were by an average of 3.5 points.
The Cardinals are favored by just 1 1/2 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, at home, where they have lost eight straight games. Arizona’s last home win was against Houston last October 24th.
Pro Picks sees that losing streak coming to an end.
Kansas City (minus 3) in San Francisco
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs watched Josh Allen and the Bills avenge a playoff loss. The 49ers can’t do much in the second half.
BEST PERFORMANCE: CHIEFS, 29-20
Indianapolis (plus 2 1/2) at Tennessee
After the bye, the Titans aim to complete a season sweep of their AFC South rival. The Colts rallied to win two straight games behind Matt Ryan.
SPECIAL UPSET: COLTS, 24-23
Detroit (plus 7) at Dallas
Dak Prescott could be rusty if he returns, as planned, after missing five games. It will not affect the outcome, only the result.
New York Giants (plus 3) in Jacksonville
After beating the Packers and Ravens in back-to-back weeks, the Giants are getting no respect from the oddsmakers against a Jaguars team that has lost three straight.
Cleveland (plus 6 1/2) at Baltimore
If the Ravens avoid a double-digit lead, they’ll be fine. Baltimore has lost three of its six games after blowing double-digit leads in each game.
Atlanta (plus 6 1/2) at Cincinnati
Two teams sitting at 3-3 when both should have gone in opposite directions. The Bengals are the reigning AFC champions. The Falcons are rebuilding.
Green Bay (minus 5 1/2) in Washington
Good news for the Packers that they are done with New York teams. They are also playing against a team that is missing its starting quarterback.
Tampa Bay (minus 10 1/2) at Carolina
Tom Brady is not happy after another poor performance. That doesn’t bode well for the Panthers.
Houston (plus 7) in Las Vegas
The Raiders are rested and ready to bounce back after a rough start. The Texans are touchdown underdogs despite a slightly better 1-3-1 winning percentage.
New York Jets (plus 1 1/2) in Denver
Russell Wilson’s first season with the Broncos didn’t go as planned. The Jets are off to their best start in seven years.
Seattle (plus 6 1/2) at Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are coming off an overtime victory over their division rival in a short week. That helps the Seahawks.
Pittsburgh (plus 7) at Miami
The Steelers are trying for their second straight win over the Florida team. They won’t catch the Dolphins off guard.
Chicago (plus 7 1/2) at New England
Bailey Zappa or Mac Jones? The Patriots could bring back Steve Grogan against this Bears team.
Last week: Even: 8-6. Against the spread: 10-4.
Season: Even: 57-37. Against the spread: 50-43-1.
Best bet: Straight: 0-1. Against the spread: 0-1.
Season: Even: 4-2. Against the spread: 4-2.
Upset Special: Right: 1-0. Against the spread: 1-0.
Season: Even: 3-3. Against the spread: 4-2
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi
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