Behind Enemy Lines: Part II

Scout.com's senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan joins AZRedReport.com once again to dissect Saturday's matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints. In this exclusive, Caplan analyzes what the most pivotal matchups will be, how much success Beanie Wells will have, the fundamentals of a Saints win or a loss and an inside look at key injuries.

Amberly Dressler: What is a matchup (Cardinals offense vs. Saints defense) that you think will determine the outcome of Saturday's game?

Adam Caplan: Probably the Saints pass defense vs. Kurt Warner. They have to control Warner and not let him make big plays. The key is for the Saints' front-four to get pressure on him. However, Warner is excellent against the blitz. It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Gregg Williams attacks the Cardinals' offensive line.

AD: And how about Cardinals defense vs. Saints offense?

AC: Probably similar to getting pressure on Warner, the Cardinal defense has to get pressure on Drew Brees, or make him get rid of the ball before he wants to. I would imagine that they will attack struggling LT Jermon Bushrod. The Saints rarely help him out with extra protection, so if he's not helped at an extra lineman or tight end, I'd expect the Cardinals to blitz off the left side.

AD: In the regular season, the Saints gave up 111 first downs by rushing (eighth most in the NFL). They also allowed more than 120 yards per game. Although not on paper, Beanie Wells has emerged as the Cardinals primary ball carrier. How do you expect the Saints to stop him from getting into the secondary and making big plays?

AC: The issue will be how much the Cardinals plan to run in this game. They are still a pass heavy team that mixes in the run. However, the Saints are shaky against the run to say the least, so I'd expect Wells to have double-digit carries in this game as long as they don't fall too far behind. The one issue Wells has to deal with is he's not good in pass protection, so Tim Hightower will likely be in on most third-down situations of more than third-and-two. The Saints are thin on depth at defensive tackle, so Wells should have success in this game.

AD: On the injury front, what's the status of key players?

AC: For the Cardinals, it's not looking good for starting WR Anquan Boldin. He's very questionable due to his high ankle sprain. He hasn't practiced since getting hurt. The good thing is they are deep at the receiver position.

As for the Saints, the only player that's looking iffy at this point is backup WR Lance Moore, who has been dealing with a few injuries for several weeks. If he can't play, they'll use third-year WR Robert Meachem.

The Saints will win because of...

Their ability to score and keep the Cardinal offense to respectable numbers. That's what it will come down to.

And will lose because of....

Issues on defense. They won't have trouble scoring. Several players will be playing with injuries. The defense really is thin on depth at several positions.



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