Giant Task Looms for Above Water Cardinals

The New Orleans Saints handed the New York Giants their first loss of the season last Sunday. The Cardinals will visit the 5-1 Giants with the hopes of improving to 4-2 and building their first winning streak of the season. The task won't be a walk in the park, but the Cardinals can learn a lot from the high-powered Saints who snapped the Giants undefeated run.

The New York Giants boast many weapons that can disrupt the Arizona Cardinals on both sides of the ball. The Giants feature a league-leading defense and a No. 6 ranked offense. The intangibles are there too.

The playoff-bound cloud that looms over the Giants is perpetual and the team, the league and the media believe in its power.

The Cardinals aren't so lucky. Even after a Super Bowl appearance, they often get skipped in discussions regarding the top teams in the league. Their losses to the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts didn't add much to any positive conversations about the team in the desert.

The reality is that the Cardinals have only two losses. Although it seems like more, the Cardinals are floating above water at 3-2.

While the Giants will certainly be a test, the Cardinals performance in Seattle showed that something special could be on the horizon for this football team.

In the coming days the Cardinals will study just how the Saints took candy from the Giants. One aspect of the Saints win that the Cardinals should notice is the Saints ability to protect Drew Brees against a punishing Giants defense.


Drew Brees
(Getty)

"[The Saints] did a good job of protecting," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "We certainly didn't. We didn't make it uncomfortable for the quarterback at all. [Brees] had a great game and we give him all of the credit. But we certainly didn't do anything to upset the rhythm, to get him off balance, to make it less comfortable for him. "We didn't knock him down enough; none of those things happened. And he responded and played really well. It was disappointing and I know the guys are disappointed."

The Cardinals offensive line needs to bring its whole bag of tricks, in order for Warner not to feel the backlash from a disappointed Giants defensive front-seven.

Also in film, the Cardinals should see that anything Brees can do, an on-point Kurt Warner can do as well. While Brees has 13 touchdown passes this season, compared to Warner's eight, the Cardinals offense is just now finding a way to get Larry Fitzgerald involved, to get Anquan Boldin (sprained ankle) involved, to get Steve Breaston involved and last but not least to use Jerheme Urban's size and ability to put up some yards.

Warner needs to mirror Brees on Sunday.

"The quarterback (Drew Brees) was confident enough to throw it up," Coughlin said following the loss to the Saints. "And they elevated and got in position to make plays on the ball even though we had people there. There were occasions where we had guys there. We just weren't able to get up to where the receiver was to challenge the catch. So you have to give them a little credit on that, too. "Crossing patterns, we didn't cover those very well – play action crosses. At times there were people that were out of position just a little bit, not necessarily secondary people, but it caused us – perhaps we could have got some pressure had we been absolutely aligned properly for some of our pressures. There may have been a half a man here or a half a man there and didn't get it done. Certainly there is a lot to be corrected."

The Giants will certainly learn from their mistakes, while the Cardinals should learn from the Saints.


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