Kevin C. Cox
From Atlanta's rushing attack to the Cardinals' pass protection, what should we be looking out for as the Cards take on the Falcons this Sunday?
If you have watched the Cardinals lately and know that they are on a five-game losing streak, then you probably think they certainly have their work cut out for them as they travel to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. And you would be right. The 8-1 Falcons are coming off of their first loss and looking to keep a leg up on the Buccaneers and Saints by winning this game.
Pro Football Focus has given the fans some things that they can look out for besides a possible blowout tomorrow. First is the Falcons' rushing game. We know how poor the Cardinals have been in this part of the game, but it seems Atlanta isn't much better. Michael Turner, their lead running back, averages just about 3.7 yards per carry. From that, PFF expects Jacquizz Rodgers to start getting more carries due to Turner's decline.
If the Cards want to stop Turner and Rodgers, PFF thinks it will come down to Daryl Washington. With Calais Campbell not expected to play, Arizona will need a big game from their linebacker. I personally would love to see an equally as big of a game from Dan Williams, who I think can be a premiere run stopper. So far, that hasn't always been the case.
PFF also wants us to look out for how Atlanta decides to play their defensive line. With Arizona's inability to run the ball, they believe John Abraham and Kroy Biermann should see plenty of time on the field together. Will Bobby Massie and recently inserted left tackle Nate Potter be able to stop them? Up to this point, Potter has actually been worse than D'Anthony Batiste, allowing a pressure every six pass snaps as compared to Batiste allowing one every seven snaps. Still, the ceiling for Potter is much higher than it is for Batiste. I would rather see him get the reps.
Lastly, the battle between Roddy White and Patrick Peterson figures to be a good one. Peterson will need to win the battle before he even catches the ball, as White averages just over 15 yards per reception, but only 3.1 yards after the catch. Not missing tackles in the short to intermediate catches (which the Falcons love) will be important.
Are you ready for tomorrow's game?