Less than 24 hours until game time and I am nervous. Going through my previous predictions I had the Arizona Cardinals starting out fast. I wrote about a worst case scenario that had us at 7-4 through 12 weeks of the season. In that worst case scenario I never thought that losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was possibility. When asked this week, I gave the Bucs a 40% chance of winning. At this time of the year, you never know.
Bring on the Buccaneers
I have watched every throw that Jameis Winston made last week three times. Winston was not sacked last week and that will need to change. At a minimum, the Cardinals will need to get consistent pressure to disrupt their timing. Winston did a decent job of checking down to his backs and tight ends when he was in trouble. This will challenge the tackling of the Cardinals that struggled last week.
The Cardinals Offense
The offense was out of sync last week and I expect a lot of that to be corrected. John Brown said that he did not feel like himself last week and you could tell. The Cardinals offense is so much more dynamic when Brown is stretching the field leaving throwing lanes open to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Our short yardage running game looked very good last week. We will need our passing game to keep the offense on schedule to allow those short yardage runs to help convert on third downs.
This is a really good game that will feature two very good offenses. I think the difference in this game is the defenses. The Cardinals offense looked very good at times against an exceptionally coached New England Patriots team. The Bucaneerss are not as formidable as the Patriots and the Cardinals should be able to take advantage. The Cardinals defense that struggled against the precise route running of New England last week, won’t be as stressed against the 50/50 type routes the Buccaneers run.
What I really want to see happen is our team get their swag back. With the exception of Fitz, It didn’t look line anyone was having fun. This team is built with big time personalities and some real super stars. To be the best version of the Cardinals they need to play like it.