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]Cardinals-Giants - key points

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]Cardinals-Giants - key points

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:53 am


Cardinals-Giants: 10 observations

By Ken Moll
Scouts Inc.
Arizona at New York

After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Cardinals-Giants matchup.

1. Arizona needs to slow down the impressive New York ground assault: The Cardinals have been excellent at defending the run, yielding less than 60 yards per game, but will have their hands full against an angry Giants team that was embarrassed by the Saints last week. Look for this to be a test of wills between the big boys in the trenches.

2. Expect the Cardinals to get physical with the Giants' receivers: QB Eli Manning has found two new targets to distribute the ball to, WRs Steve Smith and Mario Manningham. Look for the Arizona cornerbacks to press up on the New York perimeter targets with the idea of jamming and rerouting them off the line of scrimmage.

3. Arizona will need to have some success rushing the football: The Cardinals have been a poor rushing team thus far and need to try to mount some kind of a run threat against a Giants unit that has been less impressive defending the run in 2009. Having some success on the ground will help keep the New York pass-rushers from teeing off.

4. Look for the Cardinals to utilize the short passing game: Head coach Ken Whisenhunt probably will design a passing attack that will get the ball out of QB Kurt Warner's hands quickly to keep the aggressive Giants defense at bay. The Cardinals have great targets, and WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston have the size and strength to give the New York coverage defenders problems in the open field.

5. Matchup to watch: Fitzgerald versus Giants CB Corey Webster: This should be an outstanding battle between one of the best perimeter receivers in the league and a talented but inconsistent Giants cornerback. Fitzgerald will utilize his strength, athleticism and instincts to gain an advantage downfield and Webster may struggle to catch up once Fitzgerald gets separation.

6. Giants must pound the rock to control the clock: The Cardinals are explosive offensively, so setting the tempo in the trenches with a power running attack is essential to keeping Warner on the sidelines. The Giants have the weapons to pound the ball with RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, so this is probably what offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will try to do.

7. Expect high-percentage passes early: Manning had one of his worst outings of his career in a Week 6 loss and Gilbride will want to get him on track early in this game. With tight end Kevin Boss back in the lineup we could see more shallow crossing patterns and option routes for Manning to focus on.

8. More pressure packages out of the nickel package: The Giants probably will utilize more nickel and dime packages against an explosive Cardinals offense. Dialing up zone and all-out man blitzes to get Warner out of rhythm is imperative to help an inconsistent Giants secondary that was torched last weekend.

9. Keep Arizona backed up with special teams: The New York coverage units have been very solid thus far, making their opponents work with a long field. The Cardinals have two capable return specialists who can change field position, so the Giants will need to stay disciplined in their coverage lanes. The Giants also need to be aware of a fake in the kicking game as they have bee exploited earlier this season with a gadget play.

10. Matchup to watch: Giants DE Justin Tuck versus Cardinals OT Levi Brown: The Giants haven't been as dominant rushing the passer thus far in 2009 but are likely to turn up the heat against the pass-happy Cardinals offense. Tuck has been the most impressive edge rusher thus far and could have a big day against a powerful but limited athlete on the right side of the Arizona offensive line. The Giants were shut out in sacks in last week's loss and will want to make a statement this week. Look for Tuck to go off against Brown.

Arizona 23
New York 27
Giants Legend
Giants Legend

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