The Patriots Defense Goes Up Against The Cardinals Potent Passing Attack

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2008

Arizona is coming into Foxboro after losing three of their last four games.  The Patriots defense still does not get to sit on their heels this week. The Cardinals with Kurt Warner are averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game.

 

The Warner passing attack has produced two 1000-yard receivers with Anquan Boldin at 1038 and Larry Fitzgerald at 1200. If that weren’t enough they have Steve Breaston coming in with 909 yards as well. This is a three-headed monster where the Patriots cannot ignore any one of the heads.

 

To the benefit of the defense the Cardinals have not been able to establish a running game. With only an average of 73 yards per game, the Patriots should be able to drop into coverage and concentrate on concocting some special blitz schemes to get after Warner.

 

Statistically, if the Pats can force the Cardinals into third-and-long or fourth-down conversions the load will get a little bit lighter. The Cardinals have a pedestrian average of converting on third-down and are abysmal when going for it on fourth.

 

So the question becomes how do they hold them on those early downs?

 

The Patriots are going to have to brutalize the Cardinals trio of receivers coming off the line of scrimmage. By largely ignoring the running game and allowing that duty to be handled by three or four in the box, they can afford to bang on the receivers and still have zone coverage to jump the routes if they break free.

 

If they run enough blitzes to keep Warner off guard the defense should be able to disrupt the Cardinals enough to keep the scoring low.

 

The Patriots will not be able to completely shut down Warner and crew. I expect the Cardinals to score at least once in the first half. The defense should be able to keep them on their side of the field most of the day and then depend on the Patriots' offense to grind it out on the ground to allow the defense good rest periods.

 

My prediction will have the Cardinals scoring twice, possibly three times. End result will be a Patriots win of 28–17.

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