Cardinals: Week 3 Preview

Derek Anderson (Bruce Yeung / Yeung Photography)

A preview of matchups to watch during the Cardinals home opener against the Oakland Raiders. Plus an injury update.

GAME PLAN: The Cardinals likely will try to pound the Raiders with the run and take some shots down the field through play-action. The biggest goal for the Cardinals is to avoid penalties. It's put them in poor field position and aided opposing offenses. Defensively, the front seven needs to be stouter against the run.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Cardinals OLB Joey Porter vs. Raiders OTs Mario Henderson and Jared Veldheer. The Raiders are rotating the two offensive tackles. Porter is a veteran who built a reputation as an excellent pass rusher. His production has been spotty so far. He needs to win this matchup.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Two of the best in the game will be matched head to head for much of Sunday. Fitzgerald has been hobbled by a knee sprain but appears to be getting healthy.

Cardinals LG Alan Faneca vs. Raiders DT Richard Seymour. Both are smart veterans and the leaders of their groups. Faneca has played well in two games, while Seymour missed last week's game with an injury.

INJURY IMPACT: RB Beanie Wells (knee) practiced Wednesday in pads for the first time since suffering a bruised knee on Sept. 2. He likely will be listed as questionable.

--WR Steve Breaston (knee) did limited work Wednesday because of a knee bruise. He is expected to play on Sunday.

--WR Early Doucet (sports hernia) underwent surgery last week and is targeting Oct. 24 as he is return date.

BY THE NUMBERS: 33 -- The number of first downs the Falcons had last week. They had eight by penalty, a record for a Cardinals opponent. The previous mark was five.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is where you find out what your character is made of. How do you bounce back when you're on the mat?" -- G Alan Faneca on bouncing back from the 41-7 loss to Atlanta.

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