The Arizona Cardinals are coming off of another disappointing loss and this one stings. This one came at the hands of a division opponent in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals were out matched in all three phases of the game and changes need to be made.
Cardinals Not Meeting Expectations
Being 1-3 through the first quarter of the season is tremendously painful. Despite the preseason hype the Cardinals are on pace to win four games. Surprising many of the experts and fans that picked them to contend for the Super Bowl. The coaches, players and fans all know that the start to this season has been, unacceptable.
When asked what coach Bruce Arains message to the team was, Calais Campbell said “stay together.” To the casual fans eye the team is not playing with the same confidence it had in 2015. The Cardinals have lost their swag. The team feeds off of the energy of Larry Fitzgerald and Tyrann Mathieu. Arizona will need both to get it going to bring back life to a season on the ropes.
Same Old Badger?
Mathieu has been very quiet on the field this year. He has not made the splash plays we have come to expect from him. The one opportunity he had, he misplayed a ball and lost an easy fumble recovery out of bounds.
Fans are questioning if Mathieu is fully recovered from his second ACL injury. In response, he has come out this week and said he is ready to cut loose and play closer to the line of scrimmage. Which is much needed, considering safety Tyvon Branch was put on injured reserve this week. This gives the Cardinals flexibility in the defensive secondary they have been missing.
Of the teams to start 1-3, only 14% have ever made the playoffs. The Houston Texans made the playoffs after the rest of their division fell apart. This is an unlikely scenario considering the Seattle Seahawks are still dominate as ever on defense and that will keep them in contention. The other team to do it was the Kansas City Chiefs who won 10 games in a row to capture a wild card spot. Arizona will need that type of run to make it to the post season. That is a daunting task considering they still have Seattle twice, the Carolina Panthers, the high flying Atlanta Falcons and the undefeated Minnesota Vikings left on their schedule. With all of that said, there is still hope.
Sunday Night Football and NBC have to be pretty upset right now. They have been licking their chops at this first Sunday night game since the schedule was announced. Poised to be a huge game, they had two teams with very high expectations pitted against each other. With multiple starters missing for the Patriots offense, it is not looking to stack up as competitively as it did before the injuries and suspensions.
Regardless of the competitiveness of the game here are some things to watch on Sunday night.
Knowing Peterson is on one side and Tyrann Mathieu is in the slot, Garoppolo would be wise to choose a rookie to throw at. Williams will be challenged all day and he will give up some catches. It is important that he make the most of any opportunity to get his hands on the ball.
2.What does Honeybadger 3.0 look like?
Tryann Mathieu has been one of the most valuable players on the Cardinals roster despite being sidelined with injuries his first three seasons. Will he be able to make the plays we expect of him or will he show some rust like he did coming of his first ACL injury?
3. Can Carson Palmer get it going?
After a poor preseason showing, Carson Palmer has to start his season like he did last year. Converting on third down, in the red zone and protecting the ball. The Patriots D is almost at full strength and is going to give us a good look at how Carson is going to play this year.
Let’s hope for the Cards to take advantage of the opportunity and take another step toward their much larger goals.