Game Preview: Cardinals @ Chiefs
Derek Anderson (Bruce Yeung / Yeung Photography)
Derek Anderson (Bruce Yeung / Yeung Photography)

Posted Nov 18, 2010


A look at the gameplan, matchups to watch and an updated injury report for the Cardinals' Week 11 battle in Kansas City.

GAME PLAN: The Cardinals don't have the talent or experience to implement a complicated plan for Sunday. They haven't been doing the simple things -- blocking, tackling, catching -- very well lately. That has to change if they are going to pull out of their four-game losing streak. The Broncos had success against the Chiefs last week with play-action passes, but the Cardinals' running game doesn't scare many people. On defense, the Cardinals will concentrate on stopping the NFL's top rushing attack and take their chances that quarterback Matt Cassel can't beat them.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL: The Cardinals benched cornerback Greg Toler for most of the second half last week against the Seahawks. Seattle picked on Toler early, concentrating on matching him up against receiver Mike Williams. Toler had decent coverage most of the time but didn't play the ball well. Michael Adams took over, but expect Toler to be back in the starting lineup this week. Injuries at running back and linebacker are hurting the special teams depth. Running backs LaRod Stephens-Howling and Jason Wright likely will be questionable this week. They are two of the team's better special teams players.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Cardinals LT Levi Brown vs. Chiefs ROLB Tamba Hali: Brown has struggled in pass protection the last few weeks, and Hali is a solid speed rusher. Brown must do a better job in his sets, especially when it comes to moving his feet.

--Cardinals ILB Gerald Hayes vs. Chiefs RBs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones: Charles and Jones form one of the best combinations in the NFL, and the Chiefs are the No. 1 ranked rushing team. Hayes is coming off a poor game in which he and several teammates missed too many tackles.

--Cardinals WR Steve Breaston vs. Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers: Breaston is the Cardinals' best deep threat, and he's effective working the middle of the field. He is averaging 15.7 yards a catch and has one touchdown.

SERIES HISTORY: 11th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead series, 7-2-1. The teams last met in 2006 with the Chiefs winning, 23-20. Four years in the NFL is a lifetime, and both organizations have changed drastically since that game. The Cardinals hired Ken Whisenhunt in 2007 and went to the Super Bowl after the 2008 season. Weeks after that game, Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley was hired as the Chiefs' head coach.

BY THE NUMBERS: 31st -- That's where the Cardinals rank in turnover ratio. They are minus-9, one better than the Panthers. Quarterbacks have been intercepted 23 times, tying with the Panthers for most in the NFL.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They're probably going to have to make some changes somewhere. Hell, we've got to do something to right the ship." -- Cornerback Michael Adams.

INJURY IMPACT: RB Beanie Wells is expected to practice the entire week and play on Sunday in Kansas City. Wells didn't play last week because of knee swelling caused by an adverse reaction to an injection.

--RB LaRod Stephens-Howling is missing practice time this week because of a strained hamstring. His availability likely won't be determined until Sunday morning. If Stephens-Howling can't play, Steve Breaston will return kicks.

--RB Jason Wright missed practice time this week because of a concussion suffered last Sunday. A key special teams and situational offensive player, Wright is not easy to replace.

--RT Brandon Keith was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after suffering a torn hamstring last week in the first quarter against Seattle. Keith played the remainder of the game, and an MRI taken later revealed the tear. Keith also has torn meniscus in the same leg, his right, and will undergo surgery.

--OL Jeremy Bridges is expected to replace the injured Brandon Keith in the lineup. Bridges started and played well in a game for the Cardinals last season, so there shouldn't be any decline with him in the lineup.



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