The New England Patriots will host the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday at Foxborough. The Cardinals are 1-0 after beating the Seattle Seahawks 20-16 in week one. Arizona features a below-average offense that is supported by one of the better defenses in the NFL. Here’s what Brady and company will see.
Fast, Quick Reactive D
The Arizona defense is very fast and they react well to developing plays. They caused 2 turnovers in the Seattle game and notched 3 sacks. The linebacking duo of Daryl Washington and Paris Leon can be especially bothersome. In the Seattle game they combined for 18 solo tackles, 3 sacks and 3 TFL.
Red Zone Tough
For the past few years, Arizona has been tops or near the top in red zone defense. That can be a big difference maker if the Patriots have to settle for field goals rather than hit pay dirt with TDs. If the Cardinals can keep it close by shutting down the Patriots in the red zone, this can turn into a Cardinal win.
The Arizona secondary is speedy and they offer topnotch coverage. Patrick Peterson and William Gay at the corners are difficult to beat and strong safety Adrian Wilson, who had a pick in the first game, is simply one of the best. Free safety Kerry Rhodes rounds out what is an excellent unit.
Patriots Best Bet
What can New England do to counteract the tough Arizona D? The first thing they need to do is use their running game and short pass attack to keep the Cardinals off balance. A few razzle-dazzle plays may also help but if the Pats can be tenacious in their short-pass and ground attack and use their no-huddle that will be a major help. By the way look for TE Rob Gronkowski to be an important force once again.
Good News Pats
There is good news regarding the Patriots. Their defense showed up and looked very strong against the Tennessee Titans, holding them to 13 points. They should be able to do the same against the Arizona offense, which is not very strong. I think New England will control the Cardinal running game and ably handle their pass game, which is in the hands of QB Kevin Kolb.
I think this will be another blowout for New England with the Pats scoring 24 and the Cardinals getting 7. After Sunday the Patriots should be 2-0 and still on top of the AFC East.