Monday, January 4, 2010

The Cardinals

Forget about week 17. The Cardinals played very cautiously, and as big of a blowout as it was, there was reason for concern.

Pittsburgh moved the ball effortlessly on the Packers by using their excellent depth at WR and basically capitalizing on the Packers lack of depth at CB in the absence of Al Harris. Mike Wallace is a fine third receiver and he was repeatedly able to beat Bell and Bush for big gains. Charles Woodson is great and Tramon Williams is OK, but of the Holmes/Ward/Miller/Wallace group, they could only handle two. (And let’s not forget the circle route to Mewelde Moore.)

The Cardinals feature excellent WR depth as well with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet complementing the outstanding Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. And while Tim Hightower is a pretty terrible RB, is also a threat in the passing game.

In short, the Cardinals have the tools to exploit weaknesses in the Packer defense.
One of the best ways to combat this weakness is to get pressure on the QB, which is especially important against Kurt Warner. When given time he is one of the most accurate passers in the history of the league, but if you can hit him he is prone to putting the ball on the ground and falling apart. So it is disturbing that the Packers were unable to register a single sack against a Cardinal team that wasn’t really trying yesterday.

The defense looked superficially good, but a great deal of that was just Matt Leinart being bad.

I like the Packers to win, but I won’t be shocked if they do not.


E.S.K. said...

The Packers ran an almost wholly vanilla 3-4 the entire time Warner was in the game. They were as plain as the Cardinal offense.

I'm not saying I'm not worried about the Cardinals, but I am saying the same caveats you make for the Cardinals first half offense can be made for the Packers first half defense.

PaulNoonan said...

Good point.

Lenny Bruce said...

Packers win in a rout

eric said...

Packers win in overtime

tracker said...

Minus a home win over the Vikes, I'm underwhelmed by the Cardinals' resume. The Packers are a better team, and getting 2 and a hook, are better enough that I'll gamble part of the children's Harvard account on them proving their superiority.

That said, I fully agree with your assessment of the Packers' weakness in nickel and dime, and Warner's ability to exploit it. They'll score some points. The Packers will score more. If they don't, Oshkosh is a fine university. Jim Gantner told me so. At least that's what I think he said.

Eric said...

i hate picking the wrong team, even if i did get the overtime correct.