ROTB masses, Scott Z. Brady (SZB) and myself (Chris Farmer aka Undrafteds) are Arizona Cardinals Featured Columnists on BleacherReport, and two of the main cogs over at the Cardinals' BlogBlitz on NFL.com c/o SportsFanLive.
We have been doing this Q&A series for a while in both locations, and I thought I would bring some of it over here to get more participation and feedback, because we all know ROTB is where it's at.
Tell us what you think. If you like this format, it can be expanded to include more writers here.
SZB - The Cardinals secondary, as has all too often been the case this year, played Jekyll and Hyde against the Packers. The first half, they played a clean, mistake free game that produced turnovers.
In the second half, they allowed Aaron Rodgers to make a playoff name for himself by amassing over 300 yards and 3 TDs. Who will show up against the Saints, and what makes you feel that way?
Chris - It could be a little of both again, and in all honestly I think the let downs are a combination of the players themselves and the play calling.
The one thing I will never get in pro football is prevent defense. Nowhere is it more apparent how ineffective it is than in Arizona. The only thing prevent does is prevent a team from holding onto the lead.
Our strength is bringing pressure and rushing at least 4. When we drop more DBs back into coverage and rush only 3 when we have a big lead, that's when a lot of the damage is done.
The key against the Saints will be how much pressure we can apply.
I really liked seeing Michael Adams coming off of the edge a couple of times versus the Packers. I like him in this role for a variety of reasons.
He has struggled in coverage, but is athletic enough to wreak havoc in the backfield. If the Cardinals send Adams, then that leaves Adrian Wilson in coverage which is obviously an upgrade.
SZB - As usual, I look in the trenches. If the Cards DL can be successful at pressuring Brees, and I think they can, the Cards will get a couple turnovers. Assuming, of course, that they otherwise stay disciplined.
The Saints just re-signed RB Deuce McAllister, a long time fan favorite that was cut in preseason, and hasn't played a down all year. Do you think he will have any effect at all in this game?
Chris - No, I do not think it will effect the game itself in any way. It is a feel good story for them, and I applaud the move, but I don't think it will have any bearing on the outcome whatsoever.
SZB - I think he may give them an emotional lift, but I just heard that he was going to be inactive. He'll be a team captain (IE: Sideline cheerleader).
The Saints defense was huge in the first half in creating turnovers (24), and often (7 times) turning them into defensive scores. Injuries took a toll in the 2nd half of the season, and their defense had 15 picks, and didn't score at all.
With the saints getting their starting CB's back, do you see that as a problem for Kurt Warner and the Cards offense?
Chris - Wow that is a stat I was not aware of. Well, while the Saints were on fire for the first half of the season, but getting their CBs back won't necessarily directly correlate into turnover creation in this game.
Though one beast I am always weary of is Darren Sharper. He is deadly in that he can pick-6 you or knock you out with a vicious hit.
I am sure the Saints and fans are all very happy to get their starters back, but sometimes these things can go in another direction—if the players are rusty and out of sync that can only be a good thing for Arizona.
I'll tell you what, I don't think there is a secondary in the league at the top of their game that can stop Kurt Warner. If the Saints stop Warner it is going to have to be from their D-line in my opinion.
SZB - You nailed it last week, Chris, when you chose backup WR Early Doucet pre-game as the 'unsung hero' of the Cardinals-Packers game. Who will step up for the Cards tomorrow in the Big Easy?
Chris - I appreciate the props. I'll give you two to chew on. The first is not a big secret, but Beanie Wells could come out with his best game as a pro. The Saints are 21st against the run, and I have a feeling Whisenhunt will try and play more ball control offense this game to keep Brees on the bench.
We've seen some really great runs by Wells, but one of these days he is going to bust loose for several long gainers in one game, and this could be the one.
Another one is a rehash. I've written two articles this week with Michael Adams as the focal point. While I understand the frustration of seeing him get beat in coverage, I also like how he ended the game last weekend.
I expect that confidence boost to propel him to have a better all around game, and perhaps make a couple of crucial plays for us.
SZB - And finally, who will win, and by how much?
Chris - I am not as talented as you are about picking scores so I will leave that to you. But I have to say Cardinals. There is more pressure on Brees and Sean Payton, and lets face it, they don't have the playoff experience that Arizona has gotten in these two postseasons.
Arizona seemed to be on a mission last year, and they have that feel again. I think all stats aside, our defense is better, especially in the QB pressure department. We might not come with a blanketing defense all the time, but our players are as athletic as any team.
I think this team is on a mission to get back to the big game and this time, take home the trophy.
SZB - Well thanks again Chris! Lets be sure and have one of these next week too! I agree, a Cardinals win. And while I appreciate the kind words, Im no Nostradamus, but
The Brady Hunch: Cardinals 41 - Saints 37