Game Preview: Cardinals vs. Buccaneers

An inside look at the Cardinals' gameplan, injury report and matchups to watch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

GAME PLAN: The Cardinals need to stick with the run, especially against the Buccaneers, who are 31st in the league at stopping it. But the Cardinals also will have a healthy contingent of receivers for the first time since the season opener. It would be silly not to try to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet.

Defensively, the Cardinals need to shut down the run, but they've had problems with big backs such as LeGarrette Blount, who is 247 pounds. Atlanta's Jason Snelling and San Diego's Mike Tolbert each gained at least 100 yards rushing against Arizona. The Cardinals will devote all resources to making sure that doesn't happen with Blount.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Buccaneers CB Ronde Barber. Two of the best in the game square off. Fitzgerald has been getting open, but the quarterbacks have been inconsistent in getting him the ball.

Cardinals RG Deuce Lutui vs. Buccaneers MLB Barrett Ruud. Lutui is the Cardinals' best run blocker, and Ruud is a tough run defender. Lutui and fellow guard Alan Faneca need to do a solid job to get the run game going.

Cardinals WR Steve Breaston vs. Buccaneers FS Cody Grimm. Grimm, the son of Cardinals offensive line coach Russ Grimm, is a rookie. Breaston is returning from injury and is very fast. The Cardinals would love to get him open deep.

BY THE NUMBERS: 32nd -- That's where the Cardinals offense ranks in four categories: yards per game, passing yards per game, passing yards per play and first downs per game.

INJURY IMPACT: WR Steve Breaston (knee) is expected to play after missing three games following knee surgery. --ILB Gerald Hayes (back) is expected to play after spending the first seven weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list.

--OLB Clark Haggans (groin) missed practice time this week, and he could be replaced by Will Davis. The Cardinals don't have much depth, and they might have to play Alex Hall for the first time. It's possible O'Brien Schofield could be activated from the non-football injury list.


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