Arizona Cardinal-New Orleans Saints: Preview & Predictions

Jeff SmithCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2010


NFL Divisional Round Playoffs

Arizona-Cardinals/team-report.shtml">Arizona Cardinal  @ New Orleans Saints  (-7 )       Current Over/Under 57

After an incredible offensive display last week against the Green Bay Packers, Arizona now gets a chance to take its show on the road when its faces the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, January 16, 2010 in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The game is slated to kick off at 4:30 P.M.

Against Green Bay, Kurt Warner played one of his best, if not the best game of his professional career. His numbers speak for themselves, as he completed 29 of 33 attempts for 379 yards and five TDs. His passer rating was an unheard of 154.1, and his 88 percent pass completion is one of the highest ever in postseason play.

The supporting cast of receivers was equally impressive, as they pulled down one circus catch after another. WR Steve Breaston stepped in for the injured Anquan Boldin and caught seven balls for 125 yards and one TD. All everything WR Larry Fitzgerald used both his size and speed to create separation from the Packers best shutdown CB Charles Woodsen. Fitzgerald ended with six receptions for 82 yards and two TDs. They added 156 yards on the ground, winding up with an amazing 531 yards of total offense against the second ranked defense in the league. Defensively the Cardinals gave up almost as many yards as they gained.

Packer QB Aaron Rodgers also had a career day passing for 422 yards and four TDs. If it wasn’t for a fluke turnover that resulted in the game winning score in overtime, Green Bay still had a good chance to win this game.

Arizona will need another huge effort by Warner this week against the Saints. The good news is they should have Boldin back for this game, giving them another play-maker on offense. The bad news is it will be almost impossible for them to duplicate the same effort two weeks in a row. They will need their defense to step up and make a few stops this time around, as the Packers only had to punt the ball once in last week’s game. Against the Saints high powered offensive attack that could be hard to do.

New Orleans finished the season with three straight losses but are still the topped ranked team in the conference. They will need to get back to the things that led them to a 13-0 start and put the bad end to the season behind them. QB Drew Brees, an MVP runner up to Peyton Manning, will be the key to Saints’ success. Like Warner, he has the ability to take control of a game and has plenty of weapons surrounding him to put points on the board. The pressure will be on New Orleans’ defensive secondary to try and keep Arizona out of the end zone. They finished the season ranked 26th giving, up an average of 235 yards per game.

For Arizona, the key to this game will be turning into another track meet. They are at their best when throwing the ball down-field, picking up yardage in big chunks. If the offensive line can provide the same protection for Warner as he had last week, he should be able to have another big day. Defensively, all they need to do is stop the Saints on a few series in hopes that their offense can score enough points to maintain a lead.

For New Orleans, they need to get back to dominating the game on both sides of the ball. Their offense will get plenty of chances to put points on the board, but they need to try and control the tempo of the game with long, extended drives. Their best defense against this team is to keep Warner and Co. on the sidelines for as long as possible. When the Cardinals do have the ball, their defense needs to find a way to apply some pressure on Warner to keep him from establishing any kind of rhythm, as that is when he is at his best.

If you like offense, this should be another great game to watch. Both teams revolve around their quarterbacks, and you get the feeling that whoever has the ball last comes away with the win. Arizona got hot like this last year and made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but I think that New Orleans’ defense will be able to stop them a few more times than Green Bay did. I’m going with the Saints and the OVER .

Arizona Cardinals Betting Trends:
  • Arizona is 15-7 ATS in its last 22 games
  • Arizona is 10-4 SU in its last 14 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in six of Arizona’s last eight games
  • Arizona is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games on the road
New Orleans Saints Betting Trends:
  • New Orleans is 0-5 ATS in its last five games
  • New Orleans is 13-3 SU in its last 16 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in six of New Orleans' last seven games
  • New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in its last five games at home