Big Red Blog: Cardinals on the road again

Ken Whisenhunt (Getty)

The Cardinals proved they can win on the road anywhere – see a Week 3 win at New England – but could be running into a buzz saw Sunday in Minnesota.


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On the road again

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, October 18 - 9:45 AM


The Cardinals proved they can win on the road anywhere – see a Week 3 win at New England – but could be running into a buzz saw Sunday in Minnesota. Despite dropping last week's contest in Washington, the Vikings have been one of the NFL's most surprising teams thus far. A stout defense and an explosive offense have helped Minnesota to a 4-2 record, good for second the NFC North division.

Arizona has already overcome plenty of adversity though the first six weeks of the year, but sooner or later that adversity will likely catch up to the team. Losses along the offensive line have left that group in shambles and the running back position has also been decimated by injuries. Kevin Kolb was the latest casualty and while John Skelton certainly has some ability, Kolb had the hot hand under center.

Defensively, Minnesota has been equally good against the pass and run, making things difficult for opposing offenses. The Vikings enter Sunday's matchup ranked 10th in the NFL in pass defense (218 yards per game) and rank 11th against the run (96 yards per game). As of now, there appear to be few weaknesses to exploit on the Minnesota defense.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals offense hasn't been particularly good at either rushing or throwing the ball. Arizona comes in with the 28th ranked offense in both passing (200 yards per game) and rushing (83 yards per game).

With Skelton back as the starter and William Powell now carrying the load at running back, one would think that both are downgrades when compared to their predecessors. However, Skelton won the starting job at the beginning of the regular season while Powell was arguably more impressive than Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. Their opportunities could end up being a blessing in disguise.

Another issue the Cardinals will have to deal with are the matchup problems wideout Percy Harvin presents. Harvin has torched opposing defenses this year and Arizona could be the next victim. Harvin has already reeled in 49 passes for 540 yards while adding 63 yards on the ground. Furthermore, Harvin remains a weapon in the return game averaging 37 yards per kick return, including a 105-yard touchdown return.

Similar to two weeks ago in St. Louis, this appears to be a tough spot for the Cardinals. The Vikings are always tough at home and have a well-balanced team that is coming into its own earlier than anyone expected. Look for Christian Ponder and Harvin to be the difference as Arizona falls short in what should be a physical and competitive game.

Prediction: Minnesota 24 Arizona 20


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Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com



blog comments powered by Disqus Follow AZRedReport on Twitter


Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com



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