The 2013 Arizona Cardinals have found their recipe to win football games the rest of the way. Two weeks ago, during the Cardinals’ last game, Arizona handed the ball off to rookie RB Andre Ellington 15 times, as he rushed for 154 yards and 1 touchdown. But perhaps the most important stat of the game was the amount of times QB Carson Palmer threw the ball. Palmer threw the ball 18 times and completed 13 of those pass attempts. That was the key to the Cardinals playing their most complete football game of the season on offense. That said, here is Arizona’s recipe to success for this Sunday’s game versus the Houston Texans and to the final half of the season:
1) A pinch of Carson Palmer: It’s no secret that Palmer has struggled mightily struggled through the first 8 games of the year. The QB had his best game of the season during Arizona’s previous game against Atlanta and it was no coincidence. If Palmer isn’t throwing the ball 30-40 times a game, that limits the amount of mistakes he will make. Unfortunately, Palmer has proven to be a turnover machine, making some inexplicable throws that have hurt the Cards. Arizona can afford to have him throw the ball 20-25 times but anything more and they’re asking for trouble.
2)A tablespoon of Andre Ellington: Ellington has been one of the 2013 draft’s bigggest surprises. Picked up in the sixth round pf the draft, Ellington has turned many heads within the organization because of the way he has continued to produce on the football field. He will not be starting on Sunday, as RB Rashard Mendenhall returns from injury. However, I expect Ellington to get the majority of the touches because of his effectiveness on the field. Going forward, Arizona will need Ellington to continue his impressive start to the season. That will also limit the amount of times Palmer needs to throw the ball and allows for more flexible play calling. A successful run game allows the offense to keep the defense honest and opens up the field for more “home run” plays.
3)2 tablespoons of defense: The Arizona Cardinals’ defense is one of the most overlooked units in the NFL. They have continued to propel this team and have kept Arizona competitive in many games this year. There is every reason to believe that the defense will continue to be superb through the last half of the year. If they do, than Arizona will have a chance to win each remaining game this season.