Glendale, Az- A friend of mine recently got dumped, his pickup game wasn’t exactly on point coming off a long relationship, and his self esteem was especially low. His luck with other women wasn’t improving, so he decided to do a slump bust to end it. A slump bust is hooking up with someone that you would normally never look at so you can finally stop striking out, and that’s exactly what he did last weekend by going home with a girl that looked like she threw shotput for ASU’s track & field team. The Cardinals are hoping the Buffalo Bill’s horrid defense represents their slump bust this weekend. Only problem is the Bill’s defense is looking at the Cardinal’s lousy offense the very same way, each one thinks they can rebound on one another. Never thought I could see the parallels of a bad romantic comedy and an NFL game, but bad football will do that to you.
The good news for the Cardinals, who lost a very ugly game to St. Louis a couple Thursdays ago, is that they’re playing a team in the Bills that has given up 97 points in the last two games. Buffalo has shown no ability to stop an offense from scoring (Even the Jets put up 48 on them!), and Arizona’s offense has had huge problems running the ball and protecting the quarterback long enough to throw downfield. The Cardinals are without both of their top 2 running backs for most of the season, with Ryan WIlliams gone for the year due to a shoulder injury and Beanie Wells currently on IR with turf toe. LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell aren’t widely known throughout the league, but Arizona already has the weakest rushing attack by the numbers so it really can’t get much worse.
The bad news for the Cardinals is that the Bills are a desperate team right now. Buffalo knows if they give a similar performance to their past two games there will be a mob, not a welcoming party waiting for them to return to Buffalo and their season is basically done. Nobody wants to play a team with its back against the wall, a professional athlete with his pride on the line can be a thrilling, scary site. Mario Williams signed a $100 million contract in the offseason and has been hearing about his lack of sacks so far this year. We saw how quickly Dolphins DE Cameron Wake got his season going against the Cards a couple weeks ago (4.5 sacks), so this could be a potential recipe for disaster in terms of Kevin Kolb staying upright.
The Bill’s offense has several players that can gain 50 yards at the drop of the hat, but I still expect Arizona’s defense to come to work like they have every Sunday this season. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown the tendency to make mistakes under pressure and the Cardinals defense has enough pass rushers and athleticism to force Fitzpatrick into a rough day. Watching Patrick Peterson battle Bills WR Stevie Johnson should be entertaining, as well as Buffalo’s talented RB duo of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller versus Arizona’s linebackers. Both of these competing units have good skill players and I expect this matchup to be won in the trenches, if the Cardinals can stop Buffalo’s running game they should do fine at keep them out of the redzone for the majority of four quarters.
I’ve written about how the success of Arizona hinges on the offensive line so many times it doesn’t need repeating. Mario Williams and the Bills Defense are looking for a coming-out party and they think this game is the one. Arizona needs to come out and score early to show everyone this offense is on the rise, losing to the Bills right after a loss to the Rams is a good way to make all of that momentum that comes with a 4-0 start disappear. QB John Skelton is listed as probable, but Kevin Kolb is still starting for now, however if the sacks keep raining down on Kolb Skelton may find himself playing sooner than later. I expect Mario Williams to use this Cardinals offensive line to bring his sack numbers back up to par, but I still see the Cardinals winning this game 21-17 after unheralded RBs LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell surprise everyone by getting the running game in motion.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic