Oct 27, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Stepfan Taylor (30) carries the ball as Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Akeem Dent (52) defends during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
This Sunday, with the Houston Texans visiting the Arizona Cardinals at 4:25 EDT, there is a lot to look at when it comes to the opponent.
The Texans enter the game at 2-6, while the Cardinals are 4-4.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has passed for 1,913 yards this season with 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He’s been sacked 23 times and has a rating of 72.4.
Looking at Palmer’s stats, I think it is safe to say his best years are behind him, and I really thought he’d be better than what he’s played this season. I know he doesn’t have a whole lot of help with his running game, and if he’s been sacked 23 times already, I’m guessing his offensive line could use some help as well.
Speaking of the running game of the Cardinals, their leading rusher is Andre Ellington with 333 yards on 43 carries, as the rookie is averaging 7.7 yards per carry. Rashard Mendenhall has 92 rushes for 281 yards.
That basically sums up the Cardinals’ rushing attack as the backs have six touchdowns total through their eight games played.
I like the first two options of the Cardinals’ passing game in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, as they can be compared to the Texans’ duo of Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins.
This season, Fitzgerald has 26 receptions for 470 yards and five touchdowns, while Floyd has 433 yards on 34 catches with two touchdowns. Compare that to Johnson (57 catches, 813 yards, three TDs) and Hopkins (31 catches, 470 yards, two touchdowns).
I still believe Floyd will be a big-time receiver in the league eventually, but let’s be honest, he’s never had a quarterback that makes you go “wow.” Palmer isn’t bad, but he doesn’t jump off the page anymore, either.
Also, watch out for Andre Ellington, who has 22 receptions for 198 yards (one touchdown) and Andre Roberts with 20 catches for 191 yards.
Defensively, the players to look out for are Karlos Dansby (69 solo tackles, three sacks), Tyrann Mathieu (47 solo tackles, one sack), Chris Campbell (four sacks) and Darnell Dockett (four sacks).
WIth a young quarterback and an offensive line that has been prone to giving up some sacks, the pass rush of the Cardinals is a must-watch in this game.
Patrick Peterson has three interceptions, while three Cardinal players (Rashad Johnson, Mathieu and Daryl Washington) each have two interceptions.