Cardinals: Game Plan & Matchups To Watch

Arizona needs to shore up several areas on both sides of the ball, starting this week against the New York Giants.


The Cardinals had success with the no-huddle offense last week, so look for them to use it at times in this game. The key will be if they can protect Kevin Kolb out of that scheme. The club needs to figure out ways to get the ball to receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He was shut out in the second half last week. Fitzgerald could be asked to move around the formation more, via shifts and motion. That might make it harder for defenses to key on him.

Defensively, the Cardinals must show more toughness than they have. The unit played better in Seattle but still gave up too much rushing yardage. Cornerback A.J. Jefferson was picked on.


Cardinals RT Brandon Keith vs. Giants DE Justin Tuck -- Keith did not play well in Seattle, and Tuck is among the elite at his position. Keith needs to do a much better job, or the Cardinals will be in deep trouble. One of Keith's biggest problems is not finishing plays. He needs to stay with his blocks longer, and improve his foot work.

Cardinals KRs LaRod Stephens-Howling, A.J. Jefferson and PR Patrick Peterson vs. Giants coverage teams -- With an offense in the developmental stages, the Cardinals need all the help it can muster from the return game. All three Cardinals returners are dangerous and capable of making big plays.

Giants OG Chris Snee vs. Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett - Dockett will move around on the left side, lining up from end to nose. Snee will see more of him than anybody. Dockett can be disruptive if he gets on a roll.


It was obvious last week how much the Cardinals need running back Beanie Wells. They struggled in short yardage, and there were plays Wells probably would have broken for bigger gains. Backup Alfonso Smith is a developing player, but Wells is the only physical runner the Cardinals have. The Cardinals went to two-tight end formations a lot last week in Seattle but didn't get much out of it. Kevin Kolb was at his best when the Cardinals spread the field with receivers. It will be hard to do that against the Giants, however, because of their ability to rush the passer.

The defense remains an unknown. Coordinator Ray Horton simplified things last week, and the group improved. But then Seattle is a bad offensive team, so it's hard to tell how well the Cardinals played.

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