Cards Aim to Rout Freefalling Falcons

The Cardinals defense needs to turn up the pressure. The Falcons commit turnovers and have had seven returned for touchdowns. The Cardinals are depleted defensively, however, and they haven't come up with many big plays in recent weeks. On offense, the Cardinals need to be able to run the ball throughout the game.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

--SS Aaron Francisco started last week, even though he missed five of the previous six games. The rust showed as Francisco was a step late in coverage on a couple of plays.

--RT Levi Brown had to leave the Saints game for a couple plays because of an equipment problem. On those plays, guard Reggie Wells moved to tackle and Keydrick Vincent played guard.

--Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast faces a problem because of the club's injuries. With a depleted secondary, the Cardinals have a hard time sitting back in zones and covering enough ground. If they blitz and bring pressure, those same defenders are exposed to more man coverage. The Saints exploited both last week.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner has 21 touchdown passes this year, his most since 2001.

--WR Anquan Boldin is still not 100 percent because of a sore toe but he was effective last week and should be able to play Sunday against the Falcons.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald will be limited in practice the next two weeks by a strained groin. Fitzgerald has been able to play with the injury, however.

--K Neil Rackers has missed six of nine field goals from 50 yards or more. He's missed his last five attempts from 50 yards and beyond. He hasn't made a 50-yard kick since Oct. 14 against Carolina.

--RB Edgerrin James needs 107 yards to surpass his total of 1,159 rushing yards gained last year. That was the most a Cardinals running back had gained since Ottis Anderson had 1,174 yards in 1983.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin vs. Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall.

Hall loves to talk and Boldin won't back down. Boldin isn't over a toe injury but he's well enough to play, and the Cardinals could try to take advantage of Hall's aggressiveness.

Falcons RT Tyson Clabo vs. Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett.

Dockett hasn't had a sack in six games but feels like he should have made the Pro Bowl. He can be a handful, and he plays hard almost all the time.

INJURY IMPACT:

--WR Larry Fitzgerald is limited in practice this week because of a sore groin. He should be able to play on Sunday.

--Boldin is limited in practice this week because of a dislocated toe on his left foot. He should be able to play on Sunday.


CardinalsSource Top Stories