Arizona Cardinals: Know Your Enemy – Week 2
By Erich Becker
Get to know this week’s opponent, the Chicago Bears, as the team travels to the windy city for the first time since 2009
2014 Record: 5-11 (Last NFC North)
2015 Record: 0-1 (T-2nd NFC North)
Current Power Ranking: 27
The Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals have a rich history over the last few years, some parts that both teams would like to forget. For the Cardinals the infamous, Monday Night game in 2006 will live on for a long time, Dennis Green’s blow-up, the Cardinals collapse and the inspiration of countless memes in the Phoenix-area are things we’d like to forget as Cardinals fans.
For the Bears, the Cardinals arrival back in Chicago reminds them of what could have been, and what was the last time the two teams met. In 2009 Kurt Warner was nearly perfect, putting up five touchdowns on a Bears’ team that could only make any headway after Matt Leinart was put into the game and promptly intercepted. I remember this game because I was watching the play-by-play updates in driving school, having been caught speeding (allegedly) a few weeks earlier on the way to a home game.
More prominent for both teams is the Bears passing over of Bruce Arians for their head coaching vacancy after Lovie Smith’s firing and choosing Marc Trestman instead of Arians. Trestman was promptly fired after two seasons, the Cardinals have one 10 and 11 games in the last two years and earned their coach his second coach of the year honors in three seasons.
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The Bears come into this game on a “moral victory” after staying in a tough game with the Green Bay Packers last week. Only James Jones kept them from pulling an upset on their division rivals.
Jay Cutler is the biggest question mark with a ability to come through in the clutch in the same way he’s likely to throw the ball into opponents hands. Cutler passed for 225 yards with a completion percentage of 50% last week with 1TD and 1INT, not great numbers, but nothing too drastic to hurt his team.
The Cardinals will have their hands full after Mark Ingram and the screen pass exposed a huge hole in the defense. Chicago comes armed with Matt Forte who caught five passes and ran 24 times last week for 166 combined yards. The Cardinals are going to need to keep Forte in check or risk the game getting away from them with dink & dunk plays like last week.
The once vaunted Bears defense put up zero sacks and zero interceptions against Aaron Rodgers and allowed over 320 yards of offense during the game.
As we saw last week, Carson Palmer can still put up great numbers against sub-par defenses, and Chicago brings in a completely average defense that kept Aaron Rodgers in check for part of the game numbers wise, but the only number that matters was the score and Rodgers came out on top.
Palmer & John Brown look to continue their success, and Darren Fells has erupted as a viable Tight End in deeper leagues. Larry Fitzgerald lead all Cardinals receivers in receptions and yards last week and hopefully can find the end zone this week. Andre Ellington, while at this time has not been ruled out, did not practice Wednesday and Chris Johnson would get the start if looking for a one-to-two week fantasy option.
The defense offers up a few scares, but scores a few turnovers off of Culter, ultimately the Cardinals come out ahead with a 31-24 victory and a 2-0 mark.