Against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, Pro Football Focus recognized the play of three Arizona Cardinals players and noted the dubious struggles of another four. With the New England Patriots on deck on Sunday as Arizona's next opponent, the players who dominated and struggled are all going to be key in the game on Sunday.
Why? Read on!
Darnell Dockett, Dan Williams and Daryl Washington were all named on PFF's team of the week, based on their game ratings. If the Cardinals have any hope of slowing down Tom Brady and the Patriots prolific offense, they will need a repeat of that on Sunday. Dockett has to be active and disruptive in the backfield. Dan Williams has to clog the middle. Washington will be charged with doing what he did a week ago, but he will also likely have to pick up either Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez in coverage -- something that will be a tall task.
On the flip side, a defensive player and three offensive players were found on PFF's "bad day" list that featured players with the lowest game ratings at their positions. On the defensive side, linebacker O'Brien Schofield picked up a -5.1. He cannot be invisible against Tom Brady. The only way the Cards have a chance of shutting down the offense is to bother Brady. Schofield is being counted on this season to do that.
Offensively, Ryan Williams, D'Anthony Batiste and Lyle Sendlein were "featured" on this list.
The Cardinals need to have a balanced attack on offense, and if Williams can't hold on to the ball or gain yardage, it is going to be a long day. Batiste will line up facing rookie Chandler Jones, a pass rushing specialist. Sendlein will battle with Vince Wolfork. They will have to help keep Kevin Kolb clean so he can make throws.
Can the Cardinals win without these improvements or repeats? Probably not, but we will see on Sunday.
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