While much scrutiny will be on Kevin Kolb this week at New England, the Arizona Cardinals will need to rely heavily on other positions if they hope to pull off an upset on Sunday versus the Patriots.
Arizona’s starting tackles Robert Massie and D’Anthony Batiste did a solid job giving John Skelton and Kolb time to throw the football against the Seahawks. Those two along with the rest of the offensive line will have to repeat that performance against the Patriots.
While much was made of Arizona’s lack of running game last week, it’s important to note that Seattle consistently kept eight men in the box, challenging Arizona to beat them in the air. It will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots defense plans on lining up.
There is little doubt about Arizona’s talent at the wide receiver position. Larry Fitzgerald should still draw double coverage, meaning more opportunities for Andre Roberts, Early Doucet as well as their trio of tight ends. I would like to see Arizona get Rob Housler more looks this week, as he could help the offense stretch the field and open things up for the running game.
Last week Arizona managed just 43 yards on 20 carries on the ground against a Seattle defense that, as mentioned, consistently brought eight defenders into the box. This week the running game should benefit if Kolb is able to build on the momentum of his game winning drive against Seattle.
Was Kolb’s performance late in the game against Seattle a flash in the pan or has the light bulb finally clicked on? We’re about to find out. Keep Kolb in the gun the majority of his snaps, and keep the tempo at a higher pace where he seems most comfortable. This is Kolb’s chance to make his mark and reclaim his franchise quarterback status.
Russel Wilson looked good against the Cardinals last week, but let’s face facts. Wilson is no Tom Brady, and Brady will not leave some of the plays on the field that Wilson did last week. Brady is not as mobile and should not be able to elude Cardinal pass rushers as well as Wilson did.
As a result, the Arizona secondary, which played well against Seattle, is going to have to step it up even more if they wish to avoid being picked apart by Brady. This should go without saying, but Arizona’s defensive line is going to have to be in Brady’s face all game long. Look for a different playbook of sorts from Ray Horton.
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