Cardinals-Titans Preview: Arizona Looks to Halt Tennessee Hot Streak
Ever since team owner Bud Adams demanded that Vince Young get another shot as the No. 1 QB, Tennessee has responded with four straight wins after beginning the season winless with Kerry Collins under center.
VY is clearly rejuvenated and playing with more confidence than ever in his young career. The team has changed its offensive approach, sprinkling in the college option play with positive results.
The interesting and maybe unintended effect of running the option is that not only does it allow Young to pick up first downs with his legs when the time is right, it also gives Chris Johnson even more chances out in open space, where he thrives.
With Collins in the lineup, CJ was good for 596 yards in six games. With Young starting, Johnson has rushed for 646 yards in four games.
It is a pretty scary thought to think that the Titans may have found a more effective scenario for Johnson and his deadly speed to flourish. CJ is on pace to become only the sixth back in league history to surpass 2,000 yards, and he is doing it at a 6.2 yards per carry clip.
Now for an absolutely ridiculous stat—Johnson has 18 carries of 20 yards or more. Adrian Peterson, the one usually anointed as the best back in the league, is the closest contender with 11.
The focus for the Arizona defense is quite obvious—attempt to contain Chris Johnson, as few teams have been able to do. They did a pretty good job versus Steven Jackson last game. If you throw out the 48-yard run, he only had 68 yards rushing otherwise. Not bad considering Jackson is second in the NFL in rushing behind Johnson.
Then again, that 48-yard run could be a frightening premonition of things to come on Sunday, as CJ is the fastest back in the league and the long runs, as stated earlier, are his forte.
Tennessee's challenge will be to slow down Kurt Warner and the prolific Cardinals passing attack. The Titans enter the game ranked 31st against the pass but have been playing better as of late, led by the fiery Cortland Finnegan.
Even if Finnegan is unable to completely slow down Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, he will surely get under their skin and try to provoke a ruckus. He is the type of player that welcomes a fracas because it helps him elevate his level of play.
This game should be a slugfest and may come down to the last drive of the game to determine the outcome.
This article also appears on NFLTouchdown.com
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