Before we begin the link to the first game against Detroit.
Hello again BBV, I have another game for analysis and prediction. It is the game against the Arizona Cardinals. So let's begin.
Overview: The Arizona Cardinals are a franchise that has not been very successful recently from 1998-2006 they had losing season after losing season, in 2007 they made an 8-8 record which was, at the time, the best record of the 2000's. Fast forward to 2014, and they now have made a Super Bowl appearance, and have only had two losing seasons since 2007 each with 5-11 records. This is the first NFC West opponent the Giants face this season, and overall the Giants lead the series with an 80-42-2 record, and the Giants are 3-2 dating back to 2004. The coach of the Cardinals is Bruce Arians, the man who took over for Chuck Pagano when he was undergoing chemo for the leukemia, and landed a coaching job after Ken Whisenhunt's firing, which was right after the second 5-11 season. So, again this is an opponent the Giants have done pretty well against in the past. The Cardinals also used to be in the same division as the Giants back when it was just three divisions, before the format was changed to four divisions.
Last year's rankings:
Team offense: 17th
Passing offense: 13th
Rushing offense: 23rd
Kick & Punt returns: 27th
Kicking and Punting: 14th
Scoring offense: 17th
Team defense: 7th
Passing defense: 14th
Rushing defense: 1st
Kick and Punt returns against: 6th
Kicking and Punting against: 20th
Scoring defense: 17th
Drives against: 28th
Offensive Line: 17th
What do these stats say: The Cardinals may not be the best passing team or running team, but they know how to score, and combine that with the top ranking in the run defense category makes this team lethal dangerous and a much more challenging opponent than the Lions. The only thing that makes this feel better is that the game is home, and not in the heat of Arizona. *Side note* The Cardinals used to play without a dome before they moved to the University of Phoenix Stadium, now with the dome it is 70 degree weather inside the stadium.
QB: advantage Giants
Palmer is not what he once was, and even though he now has a wide receiver in Fitzgerald, I feel that Eli's unit has a better shot against the secondary of Arizona than Palmer with the secondary on the Giants. This Cardinals team has an actual Quarterback since Kurt Warner, and can make the run at the divisional crown. I would not be surprised if Palmer outplays Manning. Palmer is 0-1 against Manning the only game they versed each other in a game.
RB: advantage push
Its funny, the Cardinals are not known for running the football, yet Arians is a guy who like Pagano is a run the football type of coach. The running backs on this Cardinals team are no push overs Andre Ellington while does not put up a stellar stat line is a good running back, and Johnathon Dwyer has starting experience as well. Meanwhile the Giants have a good stable of backs, but again the No. 1 run defense in the league last year is still difficult to run on and to run over.
Receiving: advantage Cardinals
This Cardinals team has a complete group of receivers while the Giants will still be building towards the success they want. I hope that the finished product will be that the Giants have a receiving corps like the Cardinals, or the Bears would be ideal as well.
Offensive line: advantage Cardinals
This was a Cardinal sin for Arizona, their line was putrid at one point, but it has improved maybe not the top of the line offensive line, but certainly is a better line than the Giants right now, again we will see come game day, but it is advantage Cardinals.
Front seven: advantage Cardinals
Number 1 against the run, and they can rush the passer vs. the beezer brigade of the Giants from linebackers, and a pass rush that leaves me wanting more. This offensive line of the Giants will really be tested by a front seven of the Cardinals that is really strong, and is underrated in my honest opinion.
Secondary: advantage Giants
The Cardinals secondary is good, but the Giants stable is deep and strong it will be tough for Fitzgerald and co. to catch passes and the YAC (Yards after catch) against this physical secondary of the Giants.
Special teams: advantage Giants
Something tells me that Arizona's special teams will be better, but the Giants have also improved in the special teams category. While the Honey Badger is good on special teams he still is recovering from an ACL tear. I will give this one to the Giants for now.
Coaching: advantage Giants
Nothing against Bruce Arians, but Coughlin has been a head coach much longer than Arians has. He had a nice year with the Cardinals last year, but this is year 2 for him, and it is time to take the Cards to the postseason. Arians will have his hands full dealing with a different offense than what he saw last year in the Giants. Coughlin knows what has to be done to win this game.
Giants: It will be the Offensive Line. Can they protect Eli long enough to get the ball out of his hands otherwise it will be the Panthers game last year all over again. Also, the former LSU receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle take on Patrick Peterson and Tyyran Matthieu the former cornerbacks of LSU that will be an interesting matchup as well.
Cardinals: The X-Factors will be Larry Fitzgerald and Calius Campbell, if they both have stellar performances than the Cardinals will have a better chance to win the game than the Giants do.
Who wins: It is a really tough call to say both teams are good, and both have match-ups they can exploit on a consistent basis. I will say the Giants in the end due to history, and wanting to get off to a strong start. Out of the four NFC West opponents the Cardinals, and the Rams are the two games the Giants have to get, I say it is a must win for the G-Men in the end. Final score Giants 23 Cardinals 21. Game three against the Texans is coming soon. There is even a poll this time around. Vote on!