The Arizona Cardinals (1-0) face a tough match this weekend against the defending AFC Champions. The New England Patriots (1-0) have a lot of talent and of course one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans last week 34-13. The Cardinals of course barely hung on to win against the Seattle Seahawks thanks in large to backup QB Kevin Kolb. Lets take a look at the probable starting lineups for week 2 and highlight three key players for each team.
Quarterback: Kevin Kolb
Running back: Beanie Wells
Fullback: Anthony Sherman
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts
Tight end: Jeff King
Offensive Line (from the left): D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobbie Massie
New England Offense
Quarterback: Tom Brady
Running back: Stevan Ridley
Full back: Aaron Hernandez
Wide Receiver: Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
Tight end: Rob Gronkowski
Offensive Line (from the left): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendall, Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer
Arizona Defense base 3-4 defense
Defensive Line: DE Calais Campbell, DT Dan Williams, DE Darnell Dockett
Linebackers: OLB O’Brien Schofield, MLB Daryl Washington, MLB Paris Lenon, OLB Sam Acho
Secondary: CB Patrick Peterson, CB William Gay, SS Adrian Wilson, FS Kerry Rhodes
New England base 4-3 Defense
Defensive Line: DE Rob Ninkovich, DT Kyle Love, DT Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones
Linebackers: WLB Jerod Mayo, MLB Brandon Spikes, SLB Dont’a Hightower
Secondary: CB Devin McCourty, CB Kyle Arrington, SS Patrick Chung, FS Steve Gregory
Arizona Key Players
The first key player for the Cardinal is obvious, but Kevin Kolb needs to step up his game if he wants to continue to play for this team. I fear these next two games will be his last chance to show that he has what it takes to be a starter in this league. For the Cardinals to win this game he needs to do more than not turn the ball over. He needs to throw the ball all over the field. Spreading the wealth to all of his receivers will keep the New England defense off balance and out of their element.
Next, we look at the defensive side of the ball. Cornerback Patrick Peterson played very well against the Seahawks last week. For the Cardinals to win this week he will need to create some turnovers, and one interception won’t be enough. The Cardinals will need at least two turnovers to even have a chance in this game.
Finally, we stay on defense, and go with defensive end Darnell Dockett. He will need to create some pressure and lots of it. The Patriots are heavily favored to win and that is no surprise. Last week, the defensive line did a very good job of keeping QB Russell Wilson off balance, so he had to make awkward throws. The Patriots offensive line is a lot better than the Seahawks, so creating pressure is no small task. For the Cardinals to win they will need to put Brady on his backside at least 8 times, and probably 3 or 4 need to be sacks.
New England Key Players
Tom Brady is an implied key player, so our first player will be running back Stevan Ridley. Ridley ran for 125 yards last week and will probably be used a lot in week two, but through the air. The Patriots offensive line gives Brady a lot of time to throw the ball and I suspect, this week, he will use all that time to pick the Cardinal defense apart.
The second key player is wide receiver Wes Welker. Welker only had 3 receptions for 14 yards in week 1. This week he will be hungry to put up some serious fantasy stats to make up for his lack of production in week 1. Brady will be looking to catch him on a couple quick slants early and try to get him wide open in the middle of the field as the game progresses.
The last key player is on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive Tackle Vince Wilfork is an absolutely gigantic human being.
I do not think the Cardinals have the talent to keep him from stopping the run almost by himself. He may not have that many sacks, but he creates more havoc in the backfield than just about any defensive tackle in the game today.
Last week the Cardinals were able to pull off an upset, but for it to happen this week, everything must go right for them to strike gold twice. So, once again the cards have been dealt to each team. Who will have the winning hand?
Prediction: Arizona Cardinals 13, New England Patriots 27