Will The Arizona Cardinals' Home Opener Be The Spark They Need?

GLENDALE AZ - SEPTEMBER 02: Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals leads teammates out onto the field before the preseason NFL game against the Washington Redskins at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2 2010 in Glendale Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 20-10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Beginning a season with a two-game road trip isn't an easy thing to do. For a team struggling to establish an identity on offense and defense, it becomes more difficult. Clearly the Cardinals experienced the difficulty, emerging with a 1-1 record.

This week they'll open their home field against the fellow 1-1 Oakland Raiders, but how much does the home field advantage make a difference? The Cardinals did play better on the road at times last season, but that also could have been a testament of having Kurt Warner at quarterback.

Last season the Cardinals were 4-4 at home, averaging 21.75 points per game to their opponents 23.25. The 2009 team took longer then expected to outplay their opponents at home. This year, things could be the opposite, but that remains to be seen.

Derek Anderson, since 2007 has played considerably better at home then away. As you can see, Anderson's stats are greater across the board. Call it the support of the fans or the familiarity of the stadium, either way he's a different quarterback on his home turf.

Anderson Since '07 YPG COMP YPA TD INT SACK QB
HOME 189.5 54.1 6.5 20 13 18 75.8
AWAY 179.8 45.8 5.2 20 24 21 49.5

 

 

 

I know many of you are Anderson-supporters, so these stats should be comforting. I'm not saying that I don't approve of him, but I wouldn't be opposed to the Cardinals bringing in someone else either. It's not just Anderson that should play better also. Many players improve in front of their home crowd. Although the Cardinals couldn't get the ball rolling immediately last season at home, I believe that this team will. The Cardinals won both of their preseason games and have several players that feed off of the crowd(Darnell Dockett, Joey Porter, and Larry Fitzgerald).

One concern that I do have is the amount of Raiders' fans that will show up to the game. Arizona is populated with many black and silver supporters from the days before the Cardinals arrived. They also follow their team well and Glendale isn't that far from Oakland. We've seen other teams fill the stadium with their own fans before(Cowboys), and if that happens on Sunday it could impact the Cardinals "homefield advantage". Let's just hope that enough of our fellow Cardinals' fans show up to help the team improve to a 2-1 record.

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