The Cardinals battle the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday and there has been much said to the keys for victory in this game. Running the ball and stopping the run at the top of the list, also containing second year quarterback Andrew Luck without question is a big component of the game.
Those are good points but I believe this game will be decided based on what both these teams do well and have done well all year long and that is strong play in the second half of games this year.
The Colts have started games very slowly on offense where they just can’t get much going and have gone into halftime behind in a few big games this season, but the second half has been their strong point in games as Andrew Luck has had two 21 point comebacks in the second half in his short career so far, including this year recently against the Houston Texans who were up 21-3 at the half. The Colts are never out of a game with Luck but they face a problem they may have not faced all year and that is the defense of the Arizona Cardinals.
Just as strong as the Colts are in the second half on offense, the Cardinals have been even stronger in the second half on defense this year, the defense gives up more big plays and yardage in the first half of a game but locks down and stops teams from scoring, particularly in the third quarter. The Cardinals defense are number 8 in yards per game allowed to opponents and 7th in total points given up, but it’s the second half where those numbers have been accumulated the most.
Currently the Cardinals present a very large task for the Colts who are having their troubles running the ball with Trent Richardson, and against the second best rush defense in the league I don’t see a second string back in Donald Brown get off against them, so keep Luck under raps and the Cardinals should win this game by double digits.
But in terms of the second half strengths of these two teams something has to give in the second half on Sunday, the Cardinals second half defense or the Colts second half offense, usually defense wins out but it will be very interesting to see if these two teams and their strong second half numbers will come into play, hopefully Cardinals defense can start fast and finish even stronger because with Luck at quarterback it wont be easy.