First Look: Chiefs v. Cardinals

Once again, Warpaint Illustrated'd Brent Bertrand breaks down the upcoming Chiefs game. This week: the Arizona Cardinals.

Week 5 : Chiefs (1-2) at Cardinals (1-3)

Kansas City's dominating 41-0 victory over San Francisco last Sunday was just what the doctor ordered. The defense was impressive, building off the Denver loss. The offense finally woke up, scoring 34 points with quarterback Damon Huard leading the way with 208 passing yards and two touchdowns to wide receivers Dante Hall and Eddie Kennison. Speaking of Hall, he's back. He put the icing on the cake with a 60-yard punt return touchdown. Larry Johnson scored his first two touchdowns of the season and rushed for a tough 101 yards on 30 carries. The Chiefs now have some confidence going into Arizona's shiny new stadium. The 1-3 Cardinals are struggling mightily right now and are showing no signs of improvement. Herm Edwards has preached about playing better on the road, and they did against Denver, but now's the time to pull out a win.

Series History:

Kansas City is 6-2-1 against the Cardinals in their nine previous regular season matchups, winning three of the last four meetings between the two teams.

Statistical Breakdown:

Kansas City -

Kansas City's defense continued its vast improvement, shutting out the 49ers last Sunday. It was Kansas City's first shutout since 2002 against the Arizona Cardinals. The performance propelled them up to third in total defense and a surprising second in passing defense. KC improved to 20th in rushing defense, and is giving up 3.9 yards per carry. The Chiefs forced four turnovers against the 49ers Sunday, and have a +1 turnover margin for the season. Kansas City also got some serious pressure on quarterback Alex Smith, posting five sacks. The Chiefs are giving up around 11 points a game, tied for sixth. The defense has not allowed a single passing touchdown in three games this year, and has not allowed a touchdown of any kind in 10 quarters.

The Chiefs offense broke out of its slump Sunday, scoring 34 points and almost doubling their season total of 16. They are now averaging 19 points a game, good for 17th in the NFL. KC improved to 20th in total offense, but is still 29th in passing offense despite a remarkable performance from Damon Huard last weekend. KC is ranked 8th in rushing, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

Arizona -

Kansas City will face another weak defense this Sunday. Arizona is 27th in rushing defense and 25th against the pass. They're allowing 4.7 yards per carry on the ground, and give up 231 passing yards per game. The Cardinals have forced seven turnovers and have seven sacks in four games this year.

The Cardinals have a potentially dangerous offense with wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, along with pro bowl running back Edgerrin James. Despite those big names the offense hasn't lived up to expectations. Arizona is currently 24th in total offense, 30th in rushing offense and 12th through the air. They've only scored 17 points a game, good for 23rd in the NFL. If you thought Kansas City's offense was struggling, take a look at Arizona's. Turnovers have been a huge problem with five lost fumbles and six interceptions. Rookie quarterback Matt Leinart gets the first start of his career this Sunday, taking over for struggling veteran Kurt Warner.

The Facts:

• Kansas City owns a 27-18 record against NFC teams dating back to 1995, tied for the third best record in the NFL.

• Kansas City has lost five straight road games against NFC teams. Their last road win was a 40-34 overtime win against the Green Bay Packers in 2003.

• Arizona is 10-34 against AFC teams since 1995.

• Kansas City has only allowed one 100-yard rusher in the last 26 games (Tiki Barber), while Arizona hasn't produced a 100-yard rusher in 30 straight games, the longest drought in the NFL.

• Arizona is 1-24 when allowing a 100-yard rusher dating back to 2002.

• Of the six teams that held an opponent scoreless during the 2005 season, five of those teams made the playoffs, including both Super Bowl teams. So far there have been five shutouts during the 2006 campaign.

• Kansas City and Pittsburgh are the only teams in the NFL that have not allowed any points in the first quarter so far. Arizona has scored 31 points in the first quarter, second in the NFL to Seattle.

• Kansas City, Atlanta, and Baltimore have not allowed a second half touchdown all year.

Key Injuries:

For Kansas City, QB Trent Green will be out once again, his third straight missed game. LT Kyle Turley is questionable after missing the game against San Francisco with a sore back. OT Will Svitek and LB Rich Scanlon are also questionable with knee injuries. RB Michael Bennett and CB Benny Sapp are both out for Sunday's game with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

For Arizona, LB James Darling will reportedly return to practice this week and is questionable. WR Larry Fitzgerald is probable with an ankle injury.

Weather Report:

Phoenix, AZ. Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 95 degrees and a low of 68.

After Herm Edwards finally got his first win as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, he will now try and get his first road win with this Chiefs team. With Arizona's suspect defense, KC should be able to move the ball on the ground and through the air. Huard looks to be comfortable in the offense now, and if teams continue to stack eight players at the line of scrimmage to contain Larry Johnson, Huard will continue to air it out downfield. Kansas City's improved defense should be a tough test for rookie quarterback Matt Leinart, making the first start of his career.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Cardinals 13

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