The Arizona Cardinals know that Sunday’s game will offer them a unique test from the Tennessee Titans offense.
They are a heavy run based offense that likes to take shots down the field with their unique weapons on offense.
They do not have a dominant wide receiver, but they have good possession guys. They lean on Delanie Walker at tight end, who is a matchup nightmare, but they have a difference maker on offense in Marcus Mariota.
Mariota has had a down season as a passer, he already has set his career high in interceptions with 12 coming into the game, but he has five rushing touchdowns and the Cardinals will need to find some defense like they had in 2013 and 2014.
Mariota is a true two-way quarterback much like Colin Kaepernick was for the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh and early career Russell Wilson.
They lean on two talented and big running backs in DeMarco Murray and young Derrick Henry who is averaging five yards a carry and leads the team in rushing despite 15 fewer carries than Murray.
Tyrann Mathieu talked about the unique approach the Titans take offensively and how it reminds them of Kaepernick and the 49ers.
S @Mathieu_Era talks about what he sees in Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/E7hdzEa9Gh— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 8, 2017
The keys to the game will be the edge players, Chandler Jones who is playing at an All-Pro level, and Kareem Martin. They have to do a great job of identifying the read option and keep to their assignment. If they are on the running back, then know your linebackers or safeties have Mariota.
If they are on the quarterback, they have to trust that the interior and linebackers will keep the running backs in check.
The hard part is Walker.
The Cardinals, sans Tyvon Branch, don’t have a player that plays, hello Haason Reddick, to matchup with Walker.
Baker could be the man, but it would be a lot to ask the undersized Baker to matchup with the 6-1 244lbs Walker.
It will be interesting to see how James Bettcher and the Cardinals defense line up on Sunday.