Cardinals Aim for Magic Number

Kurt Warner (Getty)

The Arizona Cardinals have soared to 30-plus points 22 times under Ken Whisenhunt. Arizona boasts a 20-2 record in those games. For a shot at another Super Bowl run, its game plan should focus on amassing even more high-scoring games. First up, is the Green Bay Packers who boast one of the most underrated defenses in the league. But Arizona is far from overrated on either side of the ball.

The Cardinals have the quarterback and the receivers to play backyard football with their opposition. And that's the kind of pigskin that will launch the Cardinals to a second-straight Super Bowl appearance. But Kurt Warner struggled to connect with Larry Fitzgerald deep for the majority of the season. Warner didn't hit Fitzgerald for a 30-yard-plus play until Week 13 and that was Fitzgerald's only one of the season. Prior to 2009, Fitzgerald kept his longest plays of the season more than 47 yards.

The blame is a combination of the increased coverage of Fitzgerald, Warner's other available options and the protection from the offensive line.

Despite the absence of lengthy plays, Fitzgerald registered his third-straight 1,000-yard-plus season.

Larry Fitzgerald & Early Doucet
(Getty)

The playoffs is where he and Warner really need to connect. Fizgerald holds an NFL record for the most consecutive 100-yard games during the playoff (four). Fitzgerald needs to make up the majority of the Cardinals points. Arizona should shoot for 30-plus points each game. They have won 14 consecutive games when they score more than 30.

Anquan Boldin will also be a factor. He'll once again enter the offseason with new contract hopes. An aspiring post-season will help. Boldin is dealing with a sprained left ankle that he injured in the third quarter last week. He was not in pads during Wednesday's practice.

In his absence, Steve Breaston historically excels. Also in the mix is Early Doucet and Jerheme Urban. Doucet's coming along nicely, but Urban's experience should outweigh Doucet's novelty.

Another way the Cardinals got points on the board this season, is their improving ground game. The emergence of Beanie Wells has warranted attention, and Tim Hightower can not be ignored by the Packers this week. Arizona capped the 2009 season with 16 rushing touchdowns, a team-high since 1998.

The opposition can't take the Cardinals defense lightly either. While inconsistency is the word, Arizona's defense features Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who intercepted six passes in 09', which is tied for fifth-best in the league. Even with a bruised left kneecap, his elite speed is a threat to return a pick for six.

All in all, the Cardinals boast threats across the board to reach their magic number: 30.


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