Parlay Picks for Saturday | 2020 NFL Expert Analysis
49ers at Cardinals (-4.5)
- When: Saturday, 4:30 PM ET
- TV: Only available via Amazon Prime Video
These teams met Week 1 and it somewhat foreshadowed that the Cardinals were going to be much better this year and the 49ers not as good as Arizona was a 24-20 upset winner. In his first game with the Cards following an offseason trade from Houston, DeAndre Hopkins dominated with 14 catches for 151 yards.
A Kyler Murray pass to Hopkins set up Kenyan Drake’s go-ahead 1-yard score with 5:03 to play. Murray threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and ran for 91 yards and another score to help the Cardinals overcome a pair of fourth-quarter deficits. Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers down to the 16 before throwing an incomplete pass to Trent Taylor on fourth-and-5 that ended the comeback attempt. Garoppolo finished 19 for 33 for 259 yards and two scores, also connecting on a 76-yarder to Raheem Mostert in the first quarter.
However, Garoppolo hasn’t played in weeks due to injury and won’t here. Neither will backup QB Nick Mullens. In last week’s loss at Dallas, Mullens was forced to depart in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury that will require surgery. He is now out for the rest of the season and the entire offseason program and probably won’t be ready for Week 1, 2021.
Thus, it will be CJ Beathard under center here. That’s because Beathard is the only healthy quarterback on the active roster. Practice squad quarterback Josh Johnson has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which means he can’t be activated in time for Saturday’s game.
Beathard’s return to the starting lineup comes almost a year to the day after his brother Clayton was stabbed to death outside of a bar in Nashville. Desperate for a quarterback to back him up, the 49ers are signing Josh Rosen off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ practice squad. Rosen was selected by the Cardinals with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft and traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 as Arizona selected Kyler Murray No. 1 overall.
Arizona would clinch a playoff spot with a victory and with a Jaguars upset of the Bears on Sunday.
Dolphins at Raiders (+2.5)
- When: Saturday, 8:15 PM ET
- TV: NFL Network
Jump on this spread before it rises to Dolphins -3 because it probably will. The Raiders’ playoff hopes are almost nil after last Thursday’s overtime loss to the Chargers. Vegas starting QB Derek Carr left in the first quarter and is not expected to play here or probably in Week 17, either. Carr is pushing to play, but it really doesn’t make much sense as the Raiders have a solid backup in former Heisman winner Marcus Mariota.
Mariota ripped the Chargers in the Raiders’ overtime loss, throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 88 yards and a score on the ground. Eight of those attempts resulted in a first down. The only NFL quarterbacks to have more first-down runs in a game since 1992 are Lamar Jackson with 10 such runs last season against the San Francisco 49ers and Michael Vick with nine against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006.
“The coaches and our trainers will make the right decision,” Carr told reporters this week. “We’ll see how it goes. If it’s up to me, I’m going to do everything I can to get back on the field.
Miami can’t clinch a playoff spot with a win but would be in by winning its final two games. In 15 of the previous 17 seasons (2003-19), at least one NFL team has made the leap from last or tied for last in its division to the playoffs the following season. Six teams have done it over the last three seasons. This season, three teams are vying to join that group: the Cardinals, Dolphins and Washington Football Team.
This is just the second time over the past 12 seasons the Dolphins will have a winning record. The Dolphins are a young team with only one player who is 30 years or older (backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, 38).
In last week’s win over New England, the Dolphins were without their two top receivers in DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant as well as No. 1 tight end Mike Gesicki. Too early to tell if they will play here but they all have a decent shot in such an important game.
NFL Parlay Picks
Cardinals at -4.5 and Dolphins at -2.5
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