The Arizona Cardinals look to get back on track this weekend when they host the Buffalo Bills at University of Phoenix Stadium. Sunday will mark the 10th day since the Cardinals lost to the St. Louis Rams 17-3 on Thursday Night Football. The Cardinals will look to improve their record to 5-1 and stay atop the NFC West.
Here are some keys to the game:
1. Turnover Battle:
The Cardinals need to win the turnover battle against the Bills. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tends to beat himself with costly interceptions. The Arizona native has thrown five interceptions and fumbled once over the last two weeks. If the Cardinals can keep it close, it is likely that Fitzpatrick could make a game changing turnover.
2. 8 in the box.
The Bills have a potent rushing and screen attack with running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The Bills are the 5th best team in the NFL in rushing yards per game with an average of 144.2 yards per game. Buffalo is the 26th ranked team in the NFL in passing yards per game. With Fitzpatrick’s turnover issues and the Buffalo passing woes, the Cardinals need to ensure they do not get beat on the ground.
3. Use screens and short passes in lieu of a running game.
With Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams out, the Cardinals will rely on LaRod Stephens-Howling and preseason rushing yards leader William Powell to run the ball. Neither is a great option to get 20 carriers and pound the ball but, they do not have to. Short slip- or inside-screens can accomplish the same thing. Picking up three or four yards on a screen will move the defense up and make room for the receivers. It will also slow down the linebackers who will be looking for screens en route to rushing Kevin Kolb.