I know that this might seem a bit early considering we just had our second game of the season less than 24 hours ago but I wanted to break down what I believe will happen on Sunday Night. See more after the Jump!
The Colts gave up 239 rushing yards on 49 attempts to the Dolphins last night and allowed them to stay on the field for over 45 minutes. The Cardinals might get over 100 yards rushing against the Colts on Sunday but they won't run the ball 49 TIMES. They aren't built that way. I expect the Colts to double Fitzgerald and make him be forced to play more of a decoy role. However, I expect that the Cardinals will try to spread our Defense out and use a lot of No-Huddle. This should create seams for Breaston, Urban, and Boldin to work the underneath routes simply because the Colts have to respect Fitzgerald's big play ability. They also might try to get Hightower in space and force our linebackers to make tackles. (Which they couldn't do against Miami) Warner has a quick release and will be satisfied with using a short intermediate passing game. Spreading out the defense will also make it hard for the Colts to create a consistent pass rush.
2. The Colts' Special Team's play should be good.
Suprisingly, the Colts' kickoff coverage and their punting average have been good the first two games. I expect that to continue in this game as Arizona's Special Teams doesn't really have an ace return guy with Arrington gone.
3. MARK THIS DOWN! The Colts will NOT run the ball effectively against the Cardinals defense.
I know we were all intrigued by the running game against Miami, 5.5 yards a carry, but it's not going to happen against the Cardinals. Since the start of the 2008 playoffs, the Cardinals have one of the most stout teams against the run in the NFL. They held Michael Turner to 42 yards in their Wild Card Playoff Win. The next week they held Deangelo Williams, who led the NFL with 20 Touchdowns, to 63 yards. In the NFC Championship Game the Cardinals held Brian Westbrook, arguably the best dual-threat back in the league, to 71 total yards. Then in the Super Bowl they held Two-Time Pro-Bowler Willie Parker to 53 yards. This level of play has carried over to the 2009 season as well. In week 1 they held Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, who had 207 yards on only 16 carries this week, to just 30 yards rushing. In week 2, they held long time Colt's nemesis Maurice Jones-Drew to just 66 yards rushing. Those are all Pro Bowl backs and some who are Pro Bowl caliber. We don't have that luxury. I could see us having somewhere around 35-40 yards for this game.
4. Peyton Manning will have over 300 yards passing for the 3rd consecutive game, tying his own Franchise Record he set in 2006.
Look, as good as the Cardinals are aginst the run, they're that bad against the pass. They allowed David Garrad and that sorry group of receivers put up 282 yards and 2 touchdowns. (Need I say more?) The Cardinals pass defense is only good when they're pass rush can force Quarterbacks into mistakes. Well the Cardinals's pass rush no longer has Antonio Johnson, arguably their best Defensive End, and Bertrand Berry has been almost non-existent, two tackles, the first two games. Dockett is a great Defensive Tackle but he'll be going against our best Pass Blocker in Jeff Saturday. Also last time I checked, Peyton Manning does a pretty good job in avoiding mistakes.
The pass defense will struggle and the running game may never materialize but Peyton Manning and the Colts receivers provide too much of a challenge for the Cardinals over matched secondary to overcome. 37-31 Colts.
Plz Rate and Comment and Go Colts!