The 2012 NFL Preseason officially gets underway this evening as the Arizona Cardinals meet the New Orleans Saints in the annual Hall of Fame Game. Kickoff in tonight’s contest is scheduled for 8:00pm ET at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The latest NFL Odds have the Saints, who will serve as the home team, listed as a -2.5 against the spread favorite. The Over/Under in tonight’s preseason opener is set at 37 points.
The Saints had, without question, the most tumultuous off-season of any team in the league as they dealt with the bounty gate scandal that eventually led to the season long suspension of their head coach, Sean Payton, and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma. New Orleans was also embroiled in a months long contract standoff with quarterback Drew Brees, who is, undoubtedly, the face of the franchise.
Thankfully for the Saints, they can start to put some of that behind them tonight, and thankfully for the fans, they can see something that somewhat resembles real football for the first time since the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Granted, this evening’s game, like most preseason contests, figures to devolve into ugly football relatively quickly, but for a while it should satisfy the need of those longing to watch something other than a practice.
The first half of tonight’s game should feature plenty of scoring as New Orleans potent passing offense goes against an Arizona defense that gave up 231 yards per game through the air last season. Saints interim coach Joe Vitt has been mum on exactly how much time Brees with see under center this evening, but Brees’ reps should matter little given the experience of his backup, Chase Daniel.
Daniel led the team in almost every off-season program with Brees attempting to negotiate a long term deal with the club. Daniel, a four year player out of Missouri, has also shown well in a number of preseason games throughout his career.
The Cardinals were no offensive juggernaut last year, but they too could find the end zone often tonight. Arizona has an experienced but largely unproven starer in Kevin Kolb, but behind Kolb is third year pro John Skelton. Skelton started in eight of Arizona’s last nine games a season ago, leading the team to a 6-2 record in those appearances. He should have little difficulty moving the Cardinals offense against New Orleans second and third string defenders.
Cardinals vs Saints Odds 2012 NFL Week 1 Preseason: Provided by SBG Global
Arizona Cardinals +2.5 (-105), Over 37 (-110)
New Orleans Saints -2.5 (-115), Under 37 (-110)