Tensions have flared as eager NFL fans from all over rush to share that one common aspiration they have fraught over, with months of preparation and immense anticipation. At the local Walmart, color televisions are flying off the shelves like cattle through an open chute. And it’s not those tiny, economical TVs they’re after. No, NFL fans want the big ones, with the High-definition, and a screen so wide the neighbor can watch it from across the street. Snacks? Check. Beer? Check. Team jersey? Check. Fantasy League? And check. All preparations are in order. It’s time for some football!
For Arizona Cardinals fans, the sheer passion they hold for their team is reciprocated. Some Cardinals fans (the truest fans) have not missed a single game since 1988, where we had to watch the team from primitive-style bleachers, at Sun Devil Stadium, in the middle of the sweltering, desert sun. Although the official 2018 NFL season began on Thursday night, the Cardinals must wait until Sunday to face their first matchup against the visiting Washington Redskins. The house (State Farm Stadium) will be packed, Red Bird fans are restless, and mounting tensions are growing higher than ever. Game time is set for 1:25 pm, MST on FOX.
Arizona Cardinals Game One Winning Aspirations
“Guys were locked in. They were focused,” said Cardinals new head coach Steve Wilks, after Monday’s practice. “Sometimes, you know, coming off a weekend and having a few days off, you never know. But it just shows you where we’re at right now as a team. For those guys to bounce back, and I’m talking about in all three phases, I thought it was pretty good.”
Face it; the Arizona Cardinals are in the earliest stages of a team rebuilding process. Under coach Wilks and his staff, many changes are bound to occur with this powerhouse of a team. Many changes have already been made. And with just the right ingredients the Cardinals have a fair chance against any of their divisional rivals, who incidentally are going through rebuilding phases of their own. Predictions from league analysts have the team finishing the season with an 8-8 (.500) record, in last place in the NFC West Division, and behind the Seattle Seahawks. But the Cardinals aren’t interested in analytical predictions and make-believe stats. This team has a focus on its aspiration, and that is defeating the Redskins on Sunday.
Keys To The Game
Beginning the season with a 1-0 record is very gratifying, not only to the team but also to the fans. Winning the very first game at home only solidifies the gratification. It also feels better than bearing the thought of being a 0-1 team. So what will it take for the Cardinals to defeat the Redskins on Sunday? Let’s take a look!
On the Offense
Maybe the most noticeable changes made to the Cardinals offense is at the quarterback position. The starting job now belongs to veteran quarterback Sam Bradford. The Cardinals front offense can pat themselves on the back for these decisions. With a solid running game, led by running back David Johnson (perhaps the greatest running back in NFL history), the Cardinals will have a copious selection of easy targets and open receivers for Bradford to keep the ball moving down the field. Also, with future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald added to the mix, the Cardinals offense should operate like a well-oiled machine. The defense of the Redskins will have their hands full on Sunday against this very formidable team.
Speaking of Defense
If one thing can be proven from the preseason exhibition, it is that the Cardinals have a defense. The Cardinals have been ranked at the top of the league in the defense category for the last three years straight.
This season doesn’t appear to be any different, except maybe that the defense is even better than before. Veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson is healthy and ready to return to his obdurate role covering the backfield. The front line responsibilities fall in the hands of veteran leader and defensive end Chandler Jones. Jones led the league last season with 17 total sacks. Defense wins games. The Redskins offense will discover this on Sunday.
At least four of the Cardinals eight losses last season can be attributed to the poor performance on special teams. Granted, the Cardinals finished out winning the final two games of the season, but it was mainly the combination of missed field goals, weak tackling, and overall piss-poor play on special teams that kept the Cardinals from garnering a winning record and a post season berth. A solid special team performance is essential if the Cardinals aspire to win against the Redskins on Sunday, especially in a close-game scenario. Enjoy the game.