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Arizona Cardinals vs Green Bay Packers: 5 Things to Watch For

Since we technically have an earlier game this week, it's time to put the Chargers game behind us, and start preparing for the Packers game this Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium. As we all know, the third preseason game of the year is usually the game where the starters play significantly more then they would in the other preseason games. That means we'll be able to see more of the offense and Kurt Warner. We also will be able to see the defense and after the 4 sack performance from the starters last week, we can expect to see some aggressive blitz packages this week. The performance in this game is also critical, as the first set of roster cuts takes place September 1st, when the roster is cut down to 75 players. The final cut will be September 5th, when the team is finally cut down to 53 players. With that in mind, here are 5 things to watch for, for Friday's game...

  • The opening kick off. Assuming the Cardinals receive the ball, most Cardinal fans will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see LaRod Stephens-Howling return the kick off. Last week he had over 150 yards on 2 kick returns. If he can mimic that performance, or come near it, then there's no doubt that LSH will make the roster cut.
  • First team offense. There's been some question marks about the starting offense, as they have yet to score a touchdown in the last two preseason games. Kurt Warner stated that he's not worried, and that he did feel comfortable on the field on Saturday, despite throwing a pick in the red zone. The lone bright spot was Tim Hightower, who carried the load in the first quarter against the Chargers.
  • Cardinals defensive line vs Packers offense. The Packers have a tough offensive line, and it's unlikely they'll fold as quick as the Chargers did last week. Aaron Rodgers is also projected to be a top five quarterback in the league this year, and has already started off the preseason strong. This looks to be the toughest test for the Cardinals defensive line, and the extended playing time will give us a good indication of how far they've progressed.
  • Charles Woodson vs Larry Fitzgerald. On Friday we'll see one of the top cornerbacks take on the top wide receiver  in the NFL. If Fitz does play through the 1st half against Woodson, expect to see a lot of solid technique from both players, and positional battles between the two. Credit goes to Mitch for pointing out that because of a tweaked hamstring, Boldin will be out of Friday's game. Since Breaston will be out of the game as well, we'll see Jerheme Urban lined up opposite of Fitz.
  • Will Chris "Beanie" Wells finally play? So far Wells has received some great reviews out of practice this week, and we can only assume that he'll suit up (and play) this Friday. Wells has done more work avoiding re-injury on his ankle, then play in any games this year. If he finally takes some snaps, you can be sure that this will be one of the, if not the number one thing to watch for on Friday.
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    When the Cardinals take the field on Friday, obviously there will be more things to watch for. These things stand out the most to me. We may not see Wells, and LSH might not even have a big return. What are you looking forward to seeing the most? Will LSH take a kick off to the house this time? How many snaps should Wells get if he plays?