The Arizona Cardinals will take on the Buffalo Bills at the University of Phoenix stadium in a week 6 NFL matchup. The Cardinals are coming off a disappointing first loss of the season on the road against the St. Louis Rams. The Bills are also trying to bounce back after getting blown out by the San Francisco 49ers in week 5. The Bills could only muster 3 points in one of the most lopsided losses of the season. The Cardinals were unable to find the end zone either and scored a season low 3 points.
Both teams are looking to avenge their losses, but who has the advantage? Well, the Cardinals beat three top ten teams this season and the Bills beat the two worst teams in the league. The Bills may be an up and coming team, but I just don’t see them having a chance in week 6 against a tough and angry Cardinals team. So, lets go ahead and take a look at the probable starting lineups for each team and highlight three key players that will have the biggest impact on Sunday.
Quarterback: Kevin Kolb
Running back: LaRod Stephens-Howling
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, Bobby Massie
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Running back: Fred Jackson
Fullback: Corey McIntyre
Tight end: Scott Chandler (probable)
Wide Receiver: Donald Jones (probable), Stevie Johnson
Offensive Line (from the left): Sam Young, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Chad Rinehard (questionable), Eric Pears
Cardinals’ Defense (Base 3-4)
Defensive Line: DE Calais Campbell, DT Dan Williams, DE Darnell Dockett (questionable)
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
Bills’ Defense (Base 4-3)
Defensive Line: DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus, DT Kyle Williams (questionable), DE Chris Kelsay
Linebackers: WLB Nick Barnett, MLB Kelvin Sheppard, SLB Arthur Moats
Secondary: CB Aaron Williams (questionable), CB Stephon Gilmore, SS George Wilson, Jairus Byrd
(side note: The Cardinals lost the last two weeks in a contest between who has the sweetest names. This week they will win that contest as the Bills have a slew of very normal names, with exception of a few.
Arizona’s Key Players
LaRod Stephens-Howling is my number 1 key player this week because he has less than 100 carries in his NFL career and is the probable starter for Sunday’s game. Stephens-Howling’s job will be ball security. If he fumbles the ball once, he may be fumbling a way a huge opportunity. He can hit the holes quick and the Cardinals need someone like him who can get through as fast as possible. Fans aren’t expecting much from the young player, but don’t be too surprised if he lights up the Bills shady defense.
The entire offensive line needs work, but one match up in particular has this writer worried. Bobby Massie will be going against former number 1 pick Mario Williams. It’s not everyday an offensive linemen has to face a number 1 pick. Massie will need to step up his game or the fans will be booing the right tackle like it’s their job.
Finally, lets go with a defensive player. The Bills were not able to get the ball rolling last week, so I would expect them to come out of the gate trying to run the ball down Arizona’s throat. Dan Williams, the big guy in the middle, will need to constantly demand a double team, so linebackers can run free behind him and make plays. Williams position is one of the most important in a 3-4 scheme. The Cardinals will, of course, be rotating him in and out, but the starter gets the recognition.
Buffalo’s Key Players
Stevie Johnson will go against one of the toughest corners in the league on Sunday. Johnson will need to create separation, legally of course, because he has no real height advantage. He is listed at 1 inch taller than Peterson. Johnson is not having the season he had last year and he has a steep hill to climb if he wants get back on track this week against a tough Cardinals secondary.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 5 of his 8 interception in the past two weeks. He will need to have a better game in order to beat the Cardinals. Like I said before the Bills will try to run the ball early and tighten the Cardinals defense up. At that point the Bills will try to cut the top off the defense and try to burn them deep for a quick score.
Finally, the last key player is on defense. The Cardinals have given up 17 sacks in the last two weeks and they are going against former number 1 pick Mario Williams. I don’t see Massie stepping up his game, so the Cardinals will have to give him help on almost every play. Williams might not have the best game, statistically speaking, but he will be a key player in week 6 of the NFL season.
The Cardinals are going to try and blow the Bills out this week. The fans want it and the players want it. The Bills will come into the University of Phoenix wanting to win, but wanting and doing are two different things. Sorry Bills fans, you’re going to be in a bad mood come Sunday.
After last weeks loss, my prediction record drops to 1-4, but I will not give up on a 500 record just yet.
Prediction: Cardinals 41, Bills 16