Cardinals Will Kiss the Star At Home Sunday

As long as the Cardinals don't have to board a plane, they have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. They proved that again by whipping the Bills 41-17 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals are a different team at home. In two years under coach Ken Whisenhunt, they are 8-2 at home and 3-8 on the road.

There are many reasons for the discrepancy, including youth and the incorporation of a new coach's system.

Part of it, too, is that Kurt Warner and this offense play better at home than it does on the road. That has been highlighted the past two weeks. Against the Jets two weeks ago, the Cardinals committed seven turnovers and had to rally furiously to make the game respectable.

Against the Bills, they scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and four of their first six. In their last three games at University of Phoenix Stadium, they've outscored the opponent by an average of almost 25 points.

Fans are starting to ask when the team is going to open the roof for a home game but the team might be wise to keep the retractable roof closed.

Over his career, Warner is 33-10 as a starter inside and 18-28 in games played outside.

The Cardinals must be thankful they are playing Dallas at home this weekend. It's a matchup of two high-powered offenses, and with a difficult schedule ahead, the Cardinals desperately need a victory to move to 4-2.

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said the Cardinals had better be ready to "play the game of our life. Playing against America's Team, the team that everybody thinks is going to the Super Bowl. The good thing is we got them at home because I don't like playing in Dallas at all."

The Cowboys have beaten the Cardinals three straight and figure to have a considerable number of fans at the game. Many Arizonans still root for the Cowboys because their games often were shown in the Phoenix area before the Cardinals moved to town.

The Cardinals, however, have built a big home-field advantage at University of Phoenix Stadium. It's a loud, boisterous place where opponents often have trouble hearing their offensive signals.

"This reminds me of playing in Death Valley (at LSU)," said rookie Early Doucet, "when you hear that crowd just starting to pick up on third downs."

The Cardinals will need another productive game from their young receivers. Anquan Boldin likely won't play after undergoing surgery to fix a facial fracture. So it will fall upon Doucet, Steve Breaston and others to do what they did against the Bills: be where Warner expects them to be and catch the ball.

"We all miss Anquan," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "But if you're going to be a good team in this league, you are going to have to have guys step up. Last year when we got injured, we didn't have the depth that we have this year."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is definitely going to be something to watch. It's going to be a bloodbath. There is going to be a lot of hitting going on, and I hope we're the ones out there doing the hitting." -- DE Darnell Dockett, on playing the Cowboys.

UNDER THE RADAR: Nose tackle Gabe Watson made his season debut in a part-time role and could be ready to assume his old starting job. Watson missed the first four games while recovering from a fractured kneecap. He looked good against Buffalo, earning one sack and forcing a fumble.

The Cardinals need a force in the middle. Bryan Robinson has been starting there, but he's more suited to playing defensive end. Backup Alan Branch has been a disappointment and was inactive against Buffalo.


--WR Early Doucet caught six passes in his NFL debut. Doucet, inactive for the first four games, was playing because Anquan Boldin is hurt. Three of Doucet's catches came on third down to keep drives alive.

--RB Tim Hightower has five touchdowns the year, the most by a Cardinals rookie since Ronald Moore had nine in 1993.

--QB Kurt Warner suffered a cut on his chin during a hit in Sunday's game. Warner had stitches and should be fine. He's nursing a sore pinkie finger after hitting in on a helmet in the Jets game. He hit the finger again against the Bills.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes, including two for touchdowns against the Bills. Eight other Cardinals caught passes in the game.

--CB Rod Hood has a groin injury that could cause him to miss the Dallas game. Hood suffered the injury in the first half of the Bills game and didn't return.

--SS Adrian Wilson is nursing a sore hamstring and was limited to nickel situations last week. Wilson has missed the last six practices but it will be hard to keep him from playing against Dallas.

--TE Ben Patrick suffered a knee injury, the seriousness of which is not known. The Cardinals can't afford to lose him. They have only one other healthy tight end, Leonard Pope, and he's nursing a sore foot. Veteran Jerame Tuman hasn't played this year because of a hamstring tear.

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