Arizona Cardinals: Five Keys to a Win over the Giants
I have to admit, it's been tough to be a Cardinals fan the last two weeks.
Can I get on my soapbox for a moment? Ok, thanks.
Honestly, and most critics will disagree, the Cardinals should be 3-0 right now.
They have the tools. Kevin Kolb is a good quarterback (despite criticisms, even now, but is he better than any quarterback Arizona had last year? Um, let me think. YES!), we may finally have a running game, and the defense, with last week's performance, may finally come around.
But they have no one to blame but themselves at this point.
And many think the overrated Cardinals, playing like this, will go into the bye week at 1-4.
I couldn't disagree more.
I see a chance for this team to be good. Really good.
But as frustrated as I and all the other Cardinals fans are right now, let's consider this; there was no offseason, and Arizona has a new QB, new TEs, new CBs, a new starter at RB, two new OL starters, and a new defensive coordinator with a complicated scheme to boot.
We honestly shouldn't have had the chance to go 3-0.
But we did.
And we will beat the Giants this week.
Well, it's a gut feeling.
But here's five things they have to do right.
1. Run the Ball Consistently
This will admittedly be tough to do if Beanie is out yet again.
But if the Hyphen is back, that should help lessen the blow.
Either way, one of the few things I liked about what they did last week was run it 25 times.
Only, they passed it 39.
I know, I know—they do better throwing the ball.
But, as I've been saying for years, if they actually made it closer, not exactly but closer, to a 50/50 split, you'd be surprised how well the passing game would do.
Even Kolb himself said he'd like to run it more.
So, if Beanie is back, they need to give him at least 20 carries.
If they do, they'll win, in my opinion.
2. Consistent Pressure on Eli Manning by the Linebackers
I love what Calais Campbell did last week.
I just don't know if he's going to do it again for a while.
It's tough for a 3-4 defensive end to continually dominate in the sacks department because most of the time he's not rushing off the edge, so he usually has to overpower his blocker, usually a guard.
Well, the Giants have a bit better of an offensive line than does Seattle.
Ergo, they must get more pressure from those linebackers off the edge.
I know the staff likes playing Haggans and Porter, but if something isn't working, change it up.
And they ain't working right now.
I'd hope that we see more of Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield Sunday.
They certainly can't do any worse than Haggans and Porter.
Anyway, the bottom line is, we can't just hit Eli a couple of times, or even get a couple of sacks.
Arizona did that against the Panthers in week one, and Newton threw all over the secondary.
It must be consistent, in your face every time you fade back, pressure.
Impossible? Maybe. But Arizona has to come close.
Or it could be a long game.
3. Take Care of the Ball in NY Territory
It seems like all of Arizona's turnovers have come in their opponent's territory, just when it looks like they are about to score.
Week one, fumble inside the 10. Week two, an interception in the red zone. Week three, two crucial picks in Seattle territory.
As funny as this sounds, I'm not as worried about turnovers in Arizona's end. The Cards defense has been surprisingly resilient in the red zone.
But these turnovers have all been momentum killers. Not to mention that they have all taken points off the board.
Do it again this week, and they'll be 1-3 for sure.
4. Throw It Deep
One thing that has come out this week is how well Kevin Kolb is doing in the yards per attempt department.
He's first in the NFL actually.
So if Kolb can put it all together this week, he has the chance to have a spectacular game against a mediocre secondary.
But one thing the Cardinals need to do is let him air it out a couple of times early to stretch the defense, even if the passes aren't complete.
I have a feeling though that Kolb will be focused and throw a long touchdown in the first half.
Just another gut call.
5. Get a Big Turnover
One of the many plays that could've changed the outcome of last week's game was a fumble by Tavaris Jackson that ended up being recovered by Seattle.
But it was one Seattle offensive player versus several Cardinals.
The Cardinals have to change that outcome this week.
If they get a chance to make a big play, they have to make it. That means no dropped interceptions (looking at you A-Dub), or letting a big play slip away.
We all know this defense can do it—they did it last year many, many times.
This week would be a good week to make a big play to help the offense out.
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