There are a few concerns going into the Houston game today at University of Phoenix Stadium, the Cardinals will have their hands full getting this win with these few cons that shadow the possibility for a victory.
First things first, and of course the most important of all is the offensive line, can the Cardinals hold off the pass rush of the Texans, especially the monster number 99 J.J. Watt, whom will be salivating to get to the non mobile Carson Palmer.
Only having 5.5 sacks this year Watt see’s the chance to add multiple sacks to his stat line for the year. Watt will be coming off the edges and Eric Winston and Bradley Sowell will have the hardest task of the day, Watt will be looking to take advantage of either side but mostly which ever side is the weakest, which would be second year man Sowell who has given up multiple sacks against greater level of competition.
Coach Arians will need to devise a scheme to neutralize Watt at times during the game, and running more than passing seems like the best medicine this week, also adding a strong blocking tight end to help chip and possibly bring in a sixth linemen. What ever Coach decides to do, it can not be in the plans to leave his tackles one on one with Watt that could spell disaster and loss on the day.
The next concern would be the emotions the Texans team will be playing on, after head Coach Gary Kubiak dropped to his knees on the field going into halftime Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts, who is doing well now but will not be coaching this week, leaving assistant coach Wade Phillips as interim coach, who also had a tragedy 2 weeks ago in the passing of his father the great Bum Phillips.
This could be a very high level played game by the Texans, when players dedicate games to fallen coaches or players the intensity level tends to shoots through the roof, Just ask Coach Arians who watched it last year with the Colts players rally behind the slogan “Chuck Strong”, So this could be a team hitting on all cylinders and the Cardinals will need to extinguish the fire early.
Next concern going into this game is the return emergence of wide receiver Andre Johnson getting back in the end zone, Johnson had three first half scores to make up for his laps time of shinning past the goal line, and look for him to get back there again.
That task may be a little difficult seeing that he will be matched up with great corner Patrick Peterson most of the time and that is going to be the best strategy to combat the emergence of Johnson.
Lastly the Texans are on a 6 game losing streak in which they have lost some close games and also have been blown out. The scary part is that winning and losing streaks have to come to an end; teams tend to take streaks lightly and get bit. Let’s hope the Cardinals take every possession serious and come out and be sharp and take the momentum early.
Cardinals cannot afford to get behind early by double digits because this team is not built for coming from behind, at least they have not shown that all year so far. A fast start will help get this one where it needs to be, a Cardinals victory.