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Cardinals vs Giants: Keys to an Arizona Cardinals victory

What are the keys to the Cardinals starting 2-0?

Christian Petersen

After watching both teams open up their seasons on Monday Night Football, there was probably little question who is the more talented NFL time at this juncture, but unfortunately for the Cardinals they do not play the game on paper.

No, that’s why this week's game between the Cardinals and the New York Giants is so interesting.

The Cardinals are the better team as even Las Vegas would agree, having the Cardinals as a 2.5-point favorite heading into Sunday’s showdown. But the last time the Cardinals were a road favorite things went about as bad as possible, even though the Cardinals beat the Titans.

This week, you hope to see a Cardinals team come out and assert their dominance, but when the Cardinals head east you never know what you are going to get.

Start Fast, Finish Faster on offense

The Cardinals have been notoriously slow starters on offense under Arians, and after the beating the Giants took last week, getting out early and putting the Giants in a hole early means getting to pin their ears back and attack an offense that is trying to work out the kinks.

If they can get going in the opening quarter and put points on the board, it will set them up to do what they have been known to do in the Arians era, finish the game on a high note.

Use your size advantage at WR

What do you see when you look at the Cardinals wide receivers? Size, speed, versatility, and the ability to bully opponents, something they did not do enough of against an undersized, but physical Chargers secondary.

Now the Cardinals get another shot to use their size against a secondary that was lit up by a great Detroit Lions passing attack.  Much has been made about the skills of this Cardinal passing attack that it should be one of the tops in the league, and it was ninth after Week 1 in yards.

What needs to be better though is the team's touchdown percentage. The Cardinals rank 12th after one week, which is up from their rank of 17 last year, but teams like San Francisco (first) and Seattle (fourth) are doing it better so far.

The Cardinals' passing game is about volume right now, and while those volume numbers look great, they need to manage to be about more in the end, and this Giants secondary should help boost those numbers.

Dominate the line of scrimmage

There is something about bad teams and how they make good teams play down to their competition, something the Cardinals were notorious for in their leaner years.

This Cardinals run defense is as good as last year’s number one-ranked unit and they showed it against San Diego.  In Week 2, it needs to be much the same.

You know how many yards rushing the Giants had in game one? 53. How many did the Cardinals surrender in game one? 52. Make it their average after two games.

Get to Eli Manning

The Giants offensive line surrendered two sacks but also have up numerous hits and pressures in game one, going against a stacked Lions defensive line.  The Lions do it the old fashioned way, as they only blitzed six times in the game.

Now the Cardinals do things a bit differently, as they attack by bringing extra defenders, as they blitzed on over 50 percent of Philip Rivers' drop backs in game one, but they have to find a way to finish, and not just get pressure.


Whether you want to bring up the run game, the miscommunications in the passing game, the pressures surrendered by the offensive line, the lack of a pass rush, Ted Ginn on returns or Patrick Peterson surrendering "another" touchdown, there is one narrative that needs to come out of this game: The Cardinals are not just for real, they are a force.

Game one will be lauded as the Cardinals overcoming some miscues and finding a way to beat a 2013 playoff team, but that all goes away if they do not come out on Sunday and play like one of the best teams in the NFC.

The Seahawks made a statement at home, the 49ers made a statement on the road, the Cardinals need to continue to make a statement every week, because while they are still earning respect… They have not earned it enough yet. 30/1 odds to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, below Detroit, Minnesota, Philadelphia and tied with Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago and these New York Giants.

You can talk me into Detroit… Maybe Philadelphia… Maybe.

The rest? Well, I guess they need to continue to prove it on the field.

Cardinals 28

Giants 13