When the Cardinals take the field in Jacksonville this Sunday, a lot will be on the line, as they've already begun the season 0-1. After a tough loss to the division rival 49ers, the Cardinals see themselves needing a win on the road, a place where they've had trouble winning in the past. Last year the Cardinals only won one playoff game on the east coast, which was at night. The Jaguars find themselves in a similar situation, as they lost a close game against their division rival, the Indianapolis Colts. Both teams will be battling to get that first win of the season, and here are the keys to the game.
- Cardinals can't come out stale. West coast teams have recently struggled tremendously when traveling to the east coast. The main reason is the time zone change. At 1:00 PM ET, it feels like 10:00 AM for the Cardinals. Last year, first quarters were a huge problem for west coast teams, especially the Cardinals. Whatever Coach Whisenhunt can do, whether it be earlier practices, or having the team arrive in Jacksonville sooner, can help this team. If they can come out strong in the first half, they'll have a better chance at winning this game.
- Larry Fitzgerald vs Derek Cox. Cox will be the corner likely covering Fitzgerald for the game on Sunday. Last week Cox allowed Reggie Wayne to run wild, catching 10 passes for 162 yards and 1 touchdown. Fitz needs to come out on Sunday and reestablish himself as the best wide out in the game. Last week Fitzgerald dropped some key passes and failed to get open for a large portion of the game. He'll be needed in order for the Cardinals offense to get back to last year's form.
- Stop the run. Last week the Cardinals were the number one team against the run, allowing only 21 total rushing yards. The test for this defense continues on Sunday, as they face another premier back in Maurice Jones-Drew. Although the Jaguars line is suspect, you can never count out the elusiveness and speed of MJD. The Cardinals need to focus on stopping the run, forcing David Garrard to try and beat the Cardinals through the air.
That's it for this week's keys to the game. The Cardinals may need to exhibit much more skills then the one's listed about in order to win. They should already be in desperate mode, as they are 1 game back in the division. What are your keys to the game?