4 more matchups that could determine Arizona Cardinals vs Chiefs

Aug 20, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) drops back to pass during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) drops back to pass during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

We are 24 hours from the Arizona Cardinals season-opening game vs the Kansas City Chiefs. Here are four outcomes that can determine the outcome. 

The Arizona Cardinals open the season at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are missing key pieces from their past four year dominant run . Key pieces such as Tyrann Mathieu  and Tyreek Hill are gone but this team is still dangerous, with the Chiefs sitting at (-6) point favorites on the road.

In order for Arizona to pull off the “upset “ here are four key matchups that can help them start their season 1-0. Let’s explore them.

1. Budda Baker vs Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes have insane chemistry they both know what the other is always thinking especially when Mahomes escapes the pocket and makes crazy throw after crazy throw. Enter Budda Baker the Cardinals All-Pro safety who may take on the task of trying to slow Kelce.

If Baker can hang with Kelce long enough for Mahomes to hang onto the ball and maybe, make a mistake or get sacked that could go a long way to a Cardinals victory especially if Mahomes and his new wide receiving core don’t have chemistry yet.

There will be others who get tasked with the job of guarding Kelce, but the Cardinals’ defense must always keep an eye on him. He’s fantastic at finding the opening in zones and sitting Budda is a do it all safety and this week the Cardinals need him to limit Kelce.

2. Arizona Cardinals interior offensive line vs Chris Jones

The Cardinals signed Kyler Murray to a huge extension now they must protect him at all costs. They get a huge test right away against elite defensive tackle Chris Jones who is always a pass-rush threat.

Arizona has one of the more experienced offensive lines in the NFL, but they are on the downhill part of their career.  Kyler Murray can extend plays only so much if the Cardinals wish to keep their $230.5 million man upright for a whole 17 games. It’ll start with the interior offensive line giving him time especially without having DeAndre Hopkins who can always make things easier for a quarterback. Speaking of not having Hopkins…

3. Hollywood Brown vs Chiefs secondary

Hollywood Brown was traded for back in April and his chemistry with Kyler Murray will be huge for the Cardinals offense if they want to survive the first six weeks without Hopkins. Murray and Brown played together at Oklahoma and shouldn’t have any issues with chemistry wise they also play a Chiefs secondary that lost their number one cornerback Charvarius Ward and their All-Pro Safety Tyrann Mathieu.

Brown should take advantage of a secondary that although I don’t expect to be as bad as the start of last season, could still struggle against an explosive player like Hollywood.

4. Arizona Cardinals Pass Rush vs Patrick Mahomes

The Cardinals finished 13th in sacks last season with 41 and they were also 13th in pass rush win rate at 41% but after losing Chandler Jones this offseason they’ll need more from Markus Golden, who just signed a one-year extension to stay in the desert, and J.J. Watt to keep the pass rush at a respectable rate.

Mahomes and his ability to escape the pocket is special we know this how can Arizona limit him? Well, they have their escape artist in Kyler Murray who can prepare them for what to deal with because if the Cardinals can’t get to Mahomes if the preseason is any indicator he has grown as a passer and has a plethora of options now that he doesn’t just have to rely on Tyreek.

Related Story. Key Matchups for the Arizona Cardinals vs Chiefs. light

The Cardinals must get pressure on Mahomes without having to blitz as there hasn’t been a quarterback better than Mahomes against the blitz since he became a starter.

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)