The Arizona Cardinals played both participants of Super Bowl LI in 2016
We are one week from Super Bowl LI in Houston. Although it pains many of us to think about, the Arizona Cardinals had high expectations of being one of the participants.
As we know, the Cardinals have been sitting at home for almost a month now. As we look towards the big game next week, the Cardinals can trace some of their failure back to the game’s two opponents, the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
The Cardinals played both teams in 2016. It was the Patriots game that kicked off the season and in many ways, set the tone for the failed expectations.
The Cardinals played the Patriots without quarterback Tom Brady. Backup Jimmy Garropolo started instead and played very well.
Garropolo played well mainly because New England didn’t change anything for him. They played their same style in defeating the Cardinals 23-21.
Despite not playing well for part of the night, the Cardinals still had a chance to win it at the end. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a game-winner late in the fourth quarter.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer went 24-37-271 and two touchdowns. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald had two touchdowns, including the 100th of his career.
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As for the game against the Falcons in November, the Cardinals started out well but then faltered fast in the second half. They had leads of 7-0 and 10-7 in the first half, down just 17-13 at halftime.
Even down just 24-13 at the end of the third quarter, you still felt like they had a chance. Then the Cardinals let things slip away from them in the fourth quarter. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was 26-34-269 with two touchdowns and one interception.
So does this tell us anything on who will win next week in Houston? Probably not but it is one measuring stick to take an educated guess.
The Cardinals played with both teams for seven of the eight quarters between the two games. Atlanta can generate a lot of offense, however New England’s defense knows how to methodically break you down. Basically, they bend but don’t break.
If the Falcons go into the game with the same mindset as they did against the Seattle Seahawks a couple of weeks ago, a team that did beat New England this year, then they have a great shot of coming out on top. It’s all about execution. Atlanta 31 New England 27