WWelcome to Week 5!
Before we rip off the band-aid, let’s take a moment to remember last year’s meeting with the Bucs.
Jameis Winston was picked off four times, and the Arizona Cardinals receivers were putting the defenders in a blender, letting Carson Palmer throw for 302 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
They won that game going away 40-7.
Fast forward to today.
The Cardinals are 2-3, the Buccaneers are 2-2.
Tampa Bay’s week one game was canceled because of the hurricane, but I think it’s safe to assume that they would have won that game.
Carson Palmer is third in the passing yards so far, but it’s worth noting that his passer rating is much, much lower compared to others. He’s at 80.5 compared to Jameis’ 92.4.
Winston is actually third in yards/game (300), beaten only by Carson Palmer (315) and Tom Brady (340).
Winston is looking much better than Carson at the moment, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that he’s the better QB overall. We all saw what happened last year, the Cardinals defense was able to rip through their offensive line and made Jameis look silly.
Jameis is younger and moves better than Carson; he plays much looser football compared to Carson’s stand-in-the-pocket-and-chuck-it approach. And that works well for each of them, but only in certain situations.
I’m going to continue to express this point, and I know you all are tired of hearing it, but the Cardinals offensive line sucks. Palmer has looked bad in some of these games because of it. That’s partly his fault for not being more flexible, but he’s doing the best he can. The offensive line could see an uptick though. D.J. Humprhies and Alex Boone may be back.
What can Arizona do?
Offensively, it’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen. We know how Palmer and his receivers play, so it all just depends on the line’s performance.
Defensively, they’re going to have to their work cut out for them to stop Winston from passing all over them.
They were able to last year, and I think they’ll be able to do it again.
They are also at the point where they can’t rely on the offense alone to outscore the Bucs, so the defense is going to have to step in and make some big plays.
I think that there’s a good chance that the Cardinals can win this game. If they win, it will allow them to keep pace with the rest of the NFC West.
The Rams are playing against Jacksonville this week, and there’s a good chance that they’ll win that one. The 49ers play the Redskins, and they’ll almost certainly lose the match-up between Brian Hoyer (cue burning dumpster GIF) and Kirk Cousins. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have a bye week.
That’ll put the NFC West at 4-2 Rams, 3-2 Seahawks , 3-3 Cardinals and 0-6 49ers. That put the Cardinals in a much better position moving forward.
I wouldn’t call this a must-win game, but it’s one that would be very helpful to win, considering the following three games are all division match-ups.
Good luck, Cardinals!