The Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets are in the middle of the worst season any fan could have expected them to have. The Jets were supposed to be playoff contenders. The Cardinals did not have such high hopes, but that could be because their coach doesn’t have the biggest mouth in the world. As a fan, you have to come to terms with the fact that your team is bad. Well, Jets and Cardinals fans, your teams are bad. There is no amount of cheering that can change that.
The Jets need to come into this game looking for some balance. Their run game needs to get going to control the clock. The Cardinals need to come into the game looking to unleash QB Ryan Lindley. I for one am tired of this terrible play calling. Just call the plays like Peyton Manning is the quarterback and see what happens.
Quarterback controversy has been the headline for both of these teams for most of the season. Jets QB Mark Sanchez is the man in New York, at least on the Jets, his play will determine the outcome of this game. So, lets take a look at the probable starting lineups and highlight three key players from each team.
Quarterback: Ryan Lindley
Running back: Beanie Wells (questionable)
Fullback: Anthony Sherman
Wide receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts (questionable)
Tight end: Jeff King
Offensive line (from the left): Nate Potter, Daryn Colledge, Rich Ohrnberger, Adam Snyder, Bobby Massie
Quarterback: Mark Sanchez
Running back: Shonn Greene
Fullback: Lex Hilliard
Wide receiver: Stephen Hill, Jeremey Kerley (probable)
Tight end: Konrad Reuland
Offensive line (from the left): D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Slauson, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Austin Howard
Cardinals’ Defense (Base 3-4)
Defensive line: DE Calais Campbell (questionable), DT Dan Williams, DE Darnell Dockett
Linebackers: OLB Quentin Groves, ILB Daryl Washington, ILB Paris Lenon, OLB Sam Acho
Secondary: CB Patrick Peterson, CB William Gay, SS Adrian Wilson, FS Kerry Rhodes
Jets’ Defense (Base 3-4)
Defensive Line: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, DT Sione Pouha, DE Mike DeVito
Linebackers: OLB Bryan Thomas, ILB Bart Scott, ILB David Harris, OLB Calvin Pace
Secondary: CB Kyle Wilson, CB Antonio Cromartie, SS Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry
Arizona Key Players
The first key player for the Cardinals is obvious, QB Ryan Lindley. He needs to take care of the football this week. His four interceptions last week cost his team the game. He threw for over 300 yards and is the obvious choice at quarterback when Kevin Kolb can’t go. Lindley needs to go out, have fun, and just let things fly.
Bobby Massie has improved steadily since he was the worst tackle in the league. He is getting better every game and may find himself in a position to compete for the starting job next year. In this game, the Cardinals are going to need to pass the ball a lot, so his protection will be key. If he plays like he did last week, there shouldn’t be a problem. Nate Potter will also be key, but since I have been so harsh on Massie all season, I thought he deserved some praise.
Finally, lets move to the defensive side of the ball. Since the Jets are probably going to want to run the ball, Daryl Washington, and Paris Lenon are going to be key contributors. While Dan Williams plugs up the middle the two inside linebackers are going to have to fly around to the football and make plays forcing Sanchez to throw the ball. Once that happens, Patrick Peterson should turn his play making ability on and take the ball away.
New York Key Players
The first key player is on the defensive side of the ball. Antonio Cromartie is going to need a big game. Last week, Janoris Jenkins had two defensive touchdowns against the Cardinals. Cromartie knows it can happen, he just needs to get the job done.
Next, sticking with defense, Bart Scott needs to come into this game with a mindset that he needs to win it on his own. He shouldn’t worry about what his teammates are doing. He just needs to fly around and make every single play. Especially when Arizona runs the football.
Finally, on offense, the run game is not great in New York, but it can get going with the right amount of balance. Shonn Greene is averaging less than four yards per carry. That is not what a coach wants to see from a man who has averaged over that mark his entire career.
The Cardinals and Jets are both hurting for a win. It’s too late to salvage their seasons and make the playoffs, but they can go into the offseason with a little pride. If these teams don’t show some effort in the remaining five games, both coaches will be standing in the unemployment line.
Prediction: The Cardinals lose their eighth straight game. Cardinals 17, Jets 27
Follow Kase Brammer on Twitter @KBlive33