Behind Enemy Lines: Cardinals @ Giants, Pt. 1

Eli Manning and Matt Leinart (Getty)

The New York Giants skated to a 37-29 win over the Cardinals last year in Week 12. This year, the 5-1 Giants will host the 3-2 Cardinals in what could be an epic battle on both sides of the ball. That is if last week's Cardinals show up. GiantInsider.com's Ken Palmer stops by to ask questions about the Super Bowl runner-ups, the QB that leads them, their Heisman Trophy clipboard holder and more.

For part two, click here .

Ken Palmer: Everyone talks about the hangover the Super Bowl loser usually suffers. How would you rate the Cards overall through their first five games?

Amberly Dressler: The first five games could be described as inconsistent. It's difficult to grasp that the Cardinals really only have two losses because the losses against the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts put a lot of doubt into people's minds.

Game tape from the Cardinals win over the Seahawks will not show the struggles that the Cardinals had prior to their second-straight win. Arizona's offensive line struggled to protect Kurt Warner, players didn't protect the football and the defense was soft. But the Seattle win was reminiscent of the the Cardinals post-season run last year. The defense sacked Matt Hasselbeck five times and the Cardinals secondary was in position to make big plays. Kurt Warner was also able to get his entire receiving unit involved, which went a long way.

KP: What's most impressed you about Kurt Warner, the man who warmed the seat for Eli Manning back in 2004?

AD: Where to start.. What impresses me most is the way Warner battles through adversity. Warner is impressive both on and off the field. He's a stand-up guy and a well-rounded signal caller. Over the course of his career, he's earned performance-based accolades but since his career followed an untraditional route, he's often been missed. It's refreshing to hear him mentioned in the future Hall of Fame boat.

Also, a lot has been made of Ken Whisenhunt changing the culture within the Cardinals organization, but Warner deserves his piece of the pie as well.

KP: Being fortunate enough to watch Larry Fitzgerald on a daily basis, a) is he the best receiver in football? and b) what specifically separates him from the rest?

AD: Yes, Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the league. His ability to execute big plays with a target on his back makes him the best. Fitzgerald is always open even if three defensive backs are covering him. He gives quarterbacks plenty of options and can make anyone look good.

KP: Do you think Matt Leinart has what it takes to eventually be a star QB in the desert?

AD: The fact is that Warner won't be the Cardinals quarterback forever. Like all guys, who have been in the league for 10-plus years, he has an expiration date. Leinart is waiting for the milk to go bad.

Leinart has had a few opportunities this year to step on the field when the Cardinals are up a comfortable amount or trailing by too many. While he looks comfortable in practice and Whisenhunt is very pleased with his progression, Leinart looks rusty and somewhat panicked on the field. But that's not entirely his fault. He's usually given around five minutes or less to just not mess up. And he hasn't, but he hasn't done anything fancy either.

Leinart does look confident in the huddle and makes good decisions, so it's really a wait-and-see situation. I believe that the majority of Cardinals fans do want to see Leinart succeed and live up to his clout. And there is an entire Trojan nation waiting for Leinart to make them proud.

KP: Will the Cards come into Giants Stadium for the final time and emerge victorious?

AD: A Cardinals victory will depend on a number of aspects. First and foremost, the Cardinals need to protect Warner. Secondly, the Cardinals secondary needs to stop big plays and not guess coverage like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been accused of. Third, the Cardinals defensive front-seven needs to take a page or two from last week's playbook. Last but not least, Warner needs to find a way to get all of his receivers involved and establish the run game early. Whisenhunt's play calling last week was tremendous, which will go a long way in giving the Cardinals a balanced attack. If the Cardinals can do any combination of the above aspects, they have a really good chance of upsetting the Giants.

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