The Arizona Cardinals have several competitive advantages against their former division rival, the Washington Commanders. However, the Cards also have more than a few disadvantages that can haunt them all game long.
Washington’s defense could be one of the league’s more elite units, and a Cardinals offense that appears to be starting Josh Dobbs this week could easily struggle. They also have an elite punter who could compound issues for Dobbs and Company.
And finally, there is the fact that more than your average amount of home-field momentum will favor the Commanders, as it is the dawn of a new era in their franchise’s history. Let’s look at each of these issues the Cardinals must overcome this Sunday if they want to leave DC with a W to kick off the 2023 season.
3 disadvantages the Arizona Cardinals must circumvent in Week 1
1 - Washington Commanders defensive line
Even if the Commanders are opening the season behind the likes of their three NFC East rivals in terms of talent, they could have the best defensive line in football. And the Arizona Cardinals, being a run-first football team in 2023, need to somehow find a way to move Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, and Company out of the way to make room for their ball carriers.
On paper, this one looks like it’s Mission Impossible: NFL Edition. And until the Cardinals offensive line proves otherwise, you can’t help but give Washington the advantage here. Perhaps the Cards can mix things up enough to confuse the Commanders.
If Arizona can’t run the football against this strong defensive front, then they need to perhaps adopt a quick, drop back and throw game to their shifty receivers and tight ends. That could force Washington’s defense to respect the pass and back off some. When coupled with the second issue on this list, the Cards offense will more than have their work cut out for them.