Arizona Cardinals-New Orleans Saints: Cards Win If...

Greg EspositoContributor IIJanuary 15, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  An Arizona Cardinal's cheerleader performs during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Packers  51-45 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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Football is a pretty complex game, at least that’s what most experts will tell you. With that said, the Cardinals success or failure can be broken down to three factors.

  1. Points Scored
  2. Protecting the Quarterback
  3. Turnovers

Yes, the number one reason is obvious. If the Cardinals score more points than their opponents, they win. The less obvious reason is when the Cardinals score 30 or more points, they win.

Since Ken Whisenhunt took over the Cardinals at the beginning of the 2007 season, the team has put up at least 30 points on 23 different occasions. They have won 21 of those contests.

After last week’s performance,30 points versus the Saints seems like a lock.

If the Cardinals want to ensure they score 30 and win, keeping Kurt Warner upright is key.

This season, when Kurt Warner started, the Cardinals were 0-3 when their offensive line gave up 3 or more sacks. When they allowed two or fewer, the team was 11-1.

The final barometer of success for the Cardinals is turnovers.

Under Whisenhunt, the Cardinals are an impressive 29-3 when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents, and just 2-19 when they have more.

See, football isn’t that complicated. All the Cardinals need to do to beat the Saints is score lots of points, stop the Saints' defense from getting to Warner, and protect the ball.

The only thing that stands in Cards' way is the team with the NFC’s best record, a potent offense, and a defense that forced the second-most turnovers.

Yeah, not complex at all.