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Cardinals vs. Falcons preview: Arizona should 'find some rhythm' in Atlanta

A hapless offensive performance in recent weeks should turn around.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons should be just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Arizona Cardinals offense. The Falcons have the league's worst defense in terms of yardage, allowing 409 per game. They are 26th against the run and 24th against the pass.

Knowing that, Arizona has a chance to reverse its offensive fortunes. Over the last seven quarters, which were against Seattle and Detroit, they have put up three points. Drew Stanton has been picked off three times.

I summed it up in a tweet earlier in the week.

Those are okay numbers for one game in terms of yardage.

But Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said on Friday, "I think we had a great week of practice. We should be able to find some rhythm in this ball game."

A good week of practice against a bad defense is a good way to go.

But even if the Cards were playing another string defense, he would expect more. In fact, he didn't see the issues the Cardinals had on offense as being caused by playing very good defensive teams, despite acknowledging the level of play of Detroit and Seattle. It was "just inconsistency" offensively that was the trouble.

"I didn't think we had any trouble at the beginning of the Detroit game, but as the game wore on, we created trouble for ourselves," he explained. "Like I said, most of our problems  are self-inflicted."

Arians noted the play on third down as being an issue, as well as the dropped touchdown. "Some was execution, some was protection," he said.

Crowd noise in Seattle was an issue for protection. It could come into play again in Atlanta, as it gets pretty raucous in the Georgia Dome.

"With crowd noise, you have to be in the exact right spot when you're pass blocking and you can't rely on communication," Arians explained. "You have to feel it and have your eyes in the right spot. If you're looking in the wrong spot, you're going to get beat around the edges."

Atlanta, though, only has 14 sacks on the season. No one has more than 2.5 sacks, but they do have a little bit of pass rushing talent in Osi Umenyiora and Paul Worrilow.

If the trend continues of not getting sacks, Drew Stanton should be able to do a little more of what he feels he needs to improve on.

"I think sometimes I need to stay in the pocket a little more, a half second just trying to reset my feet, as opposed to trying to get out and push the ball down the field," he told reporters. "And I'll try to be more accurate underneath to try to give them a chance to catch and run with (the ball)."

Arizona has played three teams in the bottom 11 in the league in rushing defense -- the Cowboys, Giants and Raiders. Andre Ellington had his three most productive days on the ground, with 91 against New York, 88 against Oakland and 90 against Dallas. Atlanta falls into the same category.

So Atlanta has no pass rush and gives up yards on the ground. The Cardinals had a good week of practice.

That should be just what the Cards need for this weekend. Getting a win will restore order again in Arizona.