Welcome to Week 3!
To start, let’s look at the Dallas Cowboys and how their team is looking going into tonight.
They got off to a great start against the Giants, with their defense completely shutting down the New York Giants offense.
Their offense was not amazing, but insanely efficient. Dak Prescott only threw one touchdown, but Ezekiel Elliot ran for 104 yards and had five catches for 36 yards.
Then, things got sideways.
In their week two game against the Denver Broncos, Prescott threw two interceptions, and Elliot only ran for eight yards, the lowest total of his career.
Denver was able to contain their offense and at the same time wreak havoc against the Cowboys defense.
That’s going to be key for the Cardinals to win this game.
If they put the pressure on Prescott and stop Elliot from making those big plays, they will be able to win this one.
There is another story for the Cardinals on offense, though.
Carson Palmer has continued to be unimpressive, even in last week’s win against the Indianapolis Colts.
The thing with Palmer is that he’s a smart quarterback but, he continues to make these not smart decisions when he’s under pressure, seemingly just throwing the ball to whoever he can, even if it’s someone from the other team.
This isn’t to say it has been all his fault. The Cardinals offensive line is not protecting him well at all.
Every snap puts fans on the edge of their seat, waiting to see if Palmer’s going to somehow make it out. That’s a big problem.
Denver showed everyone last week that the Cowboys defense is one that you can air it out against. They let Trevor Siemeian throw for 231 yards and 4 touchdowns. When it is an aerial show, that’s where Carson Palmer performs his best.
Last week, he threw for 332 yards. Now, those yards only led to one touchdown, but finding a way to convert in the redzone is another story.
If the Cardinals can work on being more productive in the redzone, which will be easy if we see the same Dallas defense as last week, they’ll be able to find some success.
Going back to the defense, it has been a lot of bend but don’t break.
They made some really clutch plays against Indianapolis, but that’s Indianapolis.
Against the Lions, a team much more advanced and multi-dimensional in in their attack, they completely failed to find that big play.
That’s a problem that they’re going to have to overcome if they want to win against someone as talented as Dak Prescott.
Players to look out for this week?
J.J. Nelson, for sure. If Carson Palmer is going to be airing the ball out more (which he definitely should), Nelson is going to be a major target and play maker, if he’s healthy.
Tyrann Mathieu impressed last week, and it might be time again for him to pick up that Honey Badger moniker.
Look for both of those players to make big impacts in the home opener.
If the Cowboys play like the well-oiled machine they were last year, it’ll be tough for the Cardinals. But I’m open to surprises; I think the Cardinals’ can do it, that’s for sure. It’s just a matter of if they will.