Cardinals-Saints Gameday Primer

The Cardinals fight for their playoff lives when they take on the New Orleans Saints this Sunday. Arizona figures to do well through the air, but the Cards must score touchdowns to match points with the potent Saints offense. Check out the matchups on both sides of the ball in this gameday primer.

WHEN THE CARDINALS RUN

Edgerrin James is shadow of the player he was back in Indianapolis; however, the blame is to be shared between him and his supporting cast. James averages just 3.8 yards per carry, which is an improvement on last season's abysmal 3.4.

On Sunday, Edge will look to find the holes in the Saints' front-seven, which is allowing just 97.2 yards per game. They key for the Cardinals is to stick to the game-plan and continue to pound the Saints.

Last week, Atlanta was forced to abandon the run against the Saints and finished with just 37 yards rushing. Two weeks ago, however, the Buccaneers continued to pound the Saints and were able to grind out 172 yards on the ground. Edge will need at least 20 carries to get in a groove and have sustained success.

WHEN THE CARDINALS PASS

The Cardinals will look to push the ball down the field. Given the success of the Saints' run defense this year, expect the Cardinals to be in a lot of second- and third-and-long situations.

Kurt Warner will have his three top receivers in the lineup for the first time in three weeks and should be able to take advantage of the Saints' secondary, which gives up more than 252 yards a game. Warner should put up better numbers than last week and complete a high percentage of his passes.

The second half of this equation is for the Cardinals' offensive line giving Warner time to make his reads and get rid of the football. If they are able to keep the pressure off him, then Warner should have a big day through the air.

WHEN THE SAINTS RUN

The Saints are thin at running back and will rely on Aaron Stecker to carry the load against a Cardinals defense that allowing just 98 yards rushing yards per game. Last week, Stecker recorded his first career 20-carry game and his first 100-yard game since 2004.

The Saints will keep their running attack basic, because Stecker doesn't have the same speed and ability as Reggie Bush. Last season, Stecker recorded only four carries for 11 yards. Don't expect Stecker to repeat his 100-yard performance of last week.

WHEN THE SAINTS PASS

If the Saints are going to win this game, they are going to have to win it through the air. Drew Brees is on fire and seems to have hit his groove after the Saints' horrific 0-4 start.

Marques Colston has come alive recently and leads the NFL in receptions and yards over the last seven weeks. In his sophomore season, Colston has become one of the league's best receivers and the Cardinals must know where he is at all times.

The Saints' No. 2 receiver has been somewhat of a mystery this year after the departure of veteran Joe Horn in the offseason. Bush was Brees' second favorite target with 73 receptions this season, but now look for the resurgent David Patten to be fill that role. Patten has been a solid player his entire career and, after making just one catch last year as a member of the Washington Redskins, Patten has resurrected his career in New Orleans.

The Saints offensive line has yielded only 11 sacks and they must be on top of their game again tomorrow against the Cardinals' fast and physical defense. If they can give Brees the protection he's used to, he should be able to find the holes in the Cardinals' secondary.

Brad Vipperman is a reporter for the Scout.com network. He is an accomplished sports writer, with recent work appearing on www.hoopswriters.com.


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