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Arizona Cardinals Run Defense Has Tough Test Ahead

As Sunday's game approaches, the Arizona Cardinals defense will need to steadily prepare themselves for the lethal running attack of the Tennessee Titans. With the legs of Chris Johnson, LenDale White, and Vince Young, the Titans feature one of the best rushing offenses in the league - if not the best - and are first in the league averaging 168.4 rushing yards per game.

The Cardinals began their season shutting down every runner they lined up against until the Panthers came to Arizona and ran for 270 yards. Since then they've given up an average of 156.75 rushing yards per game over the last 4 games. The Cardinals linebackers have had their fair share of troubles staying healthy, with Chike Okeafor and Gerald Hayes battling back injuries. With Hayes back and the recent addition of Monty Beisel, the Cardinals are hoping they can at least limit Tennessee to get the win.

So far this year, the Titans have faced only one rush defense ranked worse then 22nd, which was the Bills ranked 31st overall against the run. The average run defense they've faced this year is 15th in the league, which means owning the number one rush offense hasn't been easy. The two top ten rush defenses the Titans have faced have been the Steelers and 49ers, in which Chris Johson ran for a combined 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Johnson has gradually become one of the deadliest running backs in the league over his first two years. In looking at his stats, I couldn't find many cracks in his game. He gets the same production in all 4 quarters, on 1st and short or 3rd and long, and in any formation. One interesting stat however, is his production compared at home to the road. At home, he averages more yards per carry(7.9) and has 6 of his 8 touchdowns, which isn't good news for the Cardinals defense. I'll leave you with another key stat - his production compared to the number of pass attempts per game.

Pass Attempts Per Game Att Yards Avg TD
1-20 173 1158 6.75 7
21-30 26 84 3.2 1