The 1-4 Arizona Cardinals return from their bye week and play the 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at home in Week Seven of the 2011 NFL season. According to the opening line, the Cardinals are four-point underdogs to the Steelers in this game.
The line seems uneven given Arizona's recent performance. Prior to the bye week, the Cardinals struggled to play well and lost in a 34-10 rout to the Minnesota Vikings. The team's performance in that game does not inspire much confidence.
Perhaps we are considering the Vikings loss too heavily, though. Outside of that blowout, Arizona lost its three other games (to the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants) by an average of just 2.67 points.
Also, the Cardinals are 1-1 this season at home. Three of Arizona's five games have been played on the road and, given the small two-game sample set of home games so far, it is still unclear how good the Cardinals can be at University of Phoenix Stadium.
If Arizona can come close to the 29.5 points it has averaged in two prior home games this season, the Cardinals could cover the four-point spread against a Pittsburgh team that ranks 22nd in the NFL in scoring offense. If the Cardinals instead replicate their play against the Vikings on Sunday, the four-point spread could prove to be far too generous.