The Arizona Cardinals take on the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium seeking their fourth straight win. They will face a team with familiar faces, as head coach Bruce Arians led Indy as an interim head coach when Chuck Pagano was sick and getting treatment for leukemia.
Here is some pregame info you can use before the game starts later this afternoon.
Indy brings young quarterback Andrew Luck, who leads the NFL's 13th overall offense. So far this season, he has completed just under 60 percent of his passes for over 2400 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions, which gives him a passer rating of 87. Indy is without receiver Reggie Wayne, who is out for the rest of the season, but are led in the passing game by T.Y. Hilton and tight end Coby Fleener. Hilton has 46 catches this season for 707 yards and five scores. Fleener has 37 catches for 439 yards and three touchdowns.
Their rushing attack is ranked 14th in the league. Trent Richardson leads in carries, but has been ineffective, averaging less than three yards a carry. Donald Brown has gotten more work lately and averages nearly six yards per carry.
Arizona's defense, though, is ranked second against the rush and ninth overall.
The offense is now ranked 19th overall (25th in rushing, 15th in passing. Carson Palmer has thrown six touchdown passes in the last three game and only two interceptions.
The Colts defense is ranked 22nd in the league, but it is led by the pass rushing of Robert Mathis, who has 13.5 sacks on the season. Arizona is led in sacks by John Abraham, who has seven, all of which have come in the last four games. Indy does struggle against the run, ranked 28th overall in that category.
This is only the 15th time the two teams will face one another, dating back to 1961. The Colts currently have a four-game winning streak in the series. Arizona has not beaten the Colts since 1990. They last played in 2009 and the Colts came away with a 31-20 win.
The Cardinals have many players and staff that were once Colts. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton was with the Colts in 2012. Starting cornerback Jerraud Powers was a Colts third round pick in 2009. He joined Arizona this offseason. Startuing left tackle Bradley Sowell played 2012 in Indianapolis. Receiver Teddy Williams, recently placed on injured reserve, was with the Colts in 2012.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was Indy's offensive coordinator and interim head coach last season. When he came to Arizona, he brought Indy's offensive line coach Harold Goodwin to be offensive coordinator and OLB coach James Bettcher.
The Colts have cornerback Greg Toler, who was Arizona's fourth round pick in 2009. He left for Indy in free agency last offseason.
A big, emotional matchup:
On Monday, head coach Bruce Arians gave his thoughts on the lead up to the Cardinals matchup against the Indianapolis Colts this week:
On his preparation for the game: "The prep will be easy. It's seeing them in person where you get emotionally involved, because it was such an emotional year last year. We'll get through that hopefully in warm-ups. But, the preparation for the ball game will be just like every other."
On if CB Jerraud Powers is right that he won't have much emotion for this game: "No, but I will hide it very well."
On how long he has been waiting for this game: "I was hoping it would never be on the schedule, because there are too many emotional ties to what happened last year to have to play them. I'm just glad we are playing here and not there. That would really be tough to walk into that stadium. But it will be fun to see those guys, especially those young kids on offense that we had a chance to work with last year. It's going to be a challenge defensively to stop them."
On if he talks to Chuck Pagano regularly:"Yes, pretty much every week. We probably won't talk too much this week until pre-game."
On the game being an emotional and a meaningful game for both coaches: "Yes, it's a huge game for both guys. They have a big division lead. Like I told our guys last week, we are in the playoffs right now. Every game is win or be done. We have to stay pace with everybody that we are tied with. We now got some help, so that we kind of control our own destiny in a way, but we have to win every week."
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