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Count Alex's Losses
10-06-2006, 09:44 AM
http://www.realfootball365.com/nfl/articles/2006/10/chiefs-cardinals-preview061006.html

When the Kansas City Chiefs pass: Kansas City finally got its air attack off the ground last weekend against the 49ers. Backup quarterback Damon Huard was poised and accurate, and pass protection was solid.

This week, the Chiefs appear to be getting another break as they face Arizona's 25th-ranked secondary. The Cardinals have major problems at cornerback. Former first-round pick Antrel Rolle has not been the impact player he was drafted to be thus far. The real problem is at the other corner spot, however. The Cardinals benched incumbent starter David Macklin after just one week. Second-year man Eric Green and third-year man Matt Ware have replaced him since. Neither has been very effective. Look for the Chiefs to try and get speedster Samie Parker the ball on deep routes against either player, regardless of who starts.

Kansas City will most likely miss left tackle Kyle Turley for the second straight game, but reserve Jordan Black played surprisingly well last week. Black will be tested by defensive end Bertrand Berry, although Berry hasn't exactly flashed the pass rush skills (zero sacks) that made him a dominant force in 2004.

If Trent Green was in the starting lineup, the Chiefs would have a clear advantage, but because Huard has to yet to prove he can throw the ball downfield in a road game, call this one a push, especially with veteran safeties Robert Griffith and Adrian Wilson providing support.


Edge: Even.


When the Arizona Cardinals pass: Kurt Warner out, Matt Leinart in. Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham must be salivating. Kansas City tortured Alex Smith at Arrowhead Stadium a week ago, and the Chiefs' secondary has been a major surprise this year, ranking second overall. Warner's play hasn't been pretty, but the real problem is Arizona's offensive line. At home, it has shown flashes of being a decent unit, but more often than not it's an adventure every time an Arizona quarterback drops back to pass.

Center Alex Stepanovich struggles with anyone who gets in his face, and the line as a whole has a real problem in picking up blitzes (or not picking them up, as the case may be). Oftentimes, a linebacker or defensive back will have a completely free shot at the quarterback.

The Chiefs will have to be wary of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, perhaps the finest wide receiver tandem in the NFL. Boldin in particular is very tough to tackle after the catch. But with an experienced pair of corners in Patrick Surtain and Ty Law, and a coordinator who is sure to attack Leinart relentlessly in his first start, look for Kansas City's secondary to have another fine game. The Chiefs will be without fourth corner Benny Sapp, but it probably won't matter.


Edge: Chiefs


When the Kansas City Chiefs run: On the surface, this looks like a total mismatch. Arizona gave up 260 yards rushing to Atlanta last week, ranks 27th overall against the run and gets to face Larry Johnson this week! You fantasy players might be drooling, but if one digs a little deeper, the real picture becomes clear.

The Cardinals' run defense did an admirable job against Seattle's Shaun Alexander in Week 2 and shut down Rams running back Steven Jackson in Week 3. The real problem for Arizona comes when it spends too much time on the field due to an inept offense that has turned the ball over 11 times already.

Chiefs left guard Brian Waters should clash with Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett in an interesting matchup.

The Chiefs will most likely struggle to run the ball early as they did against San Francisco, but if Arizona's offense can't get on track, Johnson may find himself ripping off some huge gains in the second half against a tired defense.


Edge: Even


When the Arizona Cardinals run: As bad as Arizona's offensive line is in pass protection, it might be worse when Edgerrin James gets the ball. James is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry this year, and has constantly found himself fighting with defenders who penetrate into the backfield almost immediately after the snap.

Atlanta defensive tackle Grady Jackson dominated Arizona's line last week, and James had just 41 yards rushing on 20 carries.

At times, Arizona's linemen even impede the progress of whoever has the ball. The Cardinals' play calling isn't really ideal, either. They attempt stretch running plays every week with, perhaps, the slowest offensive line in the league. With a rookie quarterback in the lineup, it's probably only going to get worse for James and Arizona this week. Look for the Chiefs to stack the box and dare Leinart to beat them with his arm, but even that aggressive approach might not be necessary.

In the interest of objectivity, it's fair to point out that 370-pound left tackle Leonard Davis might have a significant advantage against Kansas City's Jared Allen, but as Troy Aikman once said, "get real!"


Edge: Chiefs


Special teams: Both teams have excellent placekickers, but the Chiefs have a huge advantage in the return game this week. Scott Player has not punted well for Arizona this year, and opponents have ripped the Cardinals for 153 yards on 10 punt returns. Dante Hall will probably provide the Chiefs with good field position all game. J.J. Arrington is averaging just 20.7 yards per kickoff return for Arizona.


Edge: Chiefs


Intangibles: Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards has preached the value of winning road games to his team for months. After losing a close one at Denver in Week 2, the Chiefs won't be looking past the Cardinals this week, even with Pittsburgh looming next Sunday. Arizona will undoubtedly get a boost with Leinart's first NFL start. Edwards is 1-0 lifetime against Cardinals head coach Dennis Green.


Edge: Even


Prediction: ESPN will showcase Leinart on Sunday evening no matter how he plays. Odds are he is not the magic bullet that will fix Arizona's offensive line or defense.


Chiefs 23, Cardinals 10

Comments? Suggestions? Criticism? Contact C.E. Wendler at cwendler@realfootball365.com

Count Alex's Losses
10-06-2006, 09:52 AM
I can't stress enough how hard it is to bring down Boldin. Has anyone else watched Arizona this year? He's a beast. I think Law is a pretty good matchup against him, tho. Boldin doesn't have breakaway speed.

Basileus777
10-06-2006, 09:57 AM
Good article. And Boldin is easily the best YAC wr in the NFL, we need our safeties and corners to tackle well. Wouldn't Law be covering Fitz though?

Short Leash Hootie
10-06-2006, 10:02 AM
yeah, Boldin is like a friggin' RB when he gets the ball...

Short Leash Hootie
10-06-2006, 10:03 AM
plus, I thought the coolest thing ever was when Boldin was with FSU as a WR...he played QB in their bowl game because they were out of QB's...he looked awesome as a QB then, as well.

Short Leash Hootie
10-06-2006, 10:03 AM
It's a shame Denny doesn't have some trick plays lined up with Boldin as a QB or something...because the dude can chuck it.

Warrior5
10-06-2006, 10:04 AM
Our DTs have absolutely no excuse for not pushing the pocket back in Leinart's face this week.

I expect Leinart to try 3-5 step short stuff, so Gun should have Law and Surtain disrupting Boldin and Fitzgerald at LOS.

I fully expect a pick 6 from the D on Sunday, and Allen and Hali should be chomping at the bit...

Short Leash Hootie
10-06-2006, 10:06 AM
how can you ever fully expect a pick 6? Honestly?

Easy 6
10-06-2006, 10:09 AM
Waters will utterly own Sonny Crockett, interesting match-up my azz.

Chiefnj
10-06-2006, 10:31 AM
This is a Herm Edwards dream game. Rookie QB should be lots of 3 and outs that keeps the Cards D on the field. Herm can run and run and run and pound Johnson until he breaks their will.

Warrior5
10-06-2006, 10:36 AM
how can you ever fully expect a pick 6? Honestly?

Leinart's a rookie QB. Card's O-line sucks. Denny's expecting an afternoon full of Leinart's pocket collapsing around him and Allen/Hali charging hard from the sides.

I think the Cards will try quick passes underneath. No time for check-downs, so the rookie will probably lock on his receiver immediately after the snap.

Law and Surtain are vets. If Leinart throws to an out pattern and Law/Surtain get a jump on it, there's nobody between him and the endzone.

That's why I fully expect a pick 6 on Sunday. Honestly.

Short Leash Hootie
10-06-2006, 10:39 AM
I like your style, BUT, that's a lofty expectation

FAX
10-06-2006, 10:39 AM
Another nice article, Mr. GoChiefs.

Congratulations.

FAX

Count Alex's Losses
10-06-2006, 10:42 AM
Actually the Cardinals have shown absolute pigheadedness with their gameplans. They've known their offensive line sucks for awhile now and they still tried to get Warner to sling it downfield....I guess they might change for a rookie QB but who knows. According to the Cardinals forum, their coaching stuff is a bunch of morons, too.

Easy 6
10-06-2006, 10:43 AM
I liked it to GC.

Short Leash Hootie
10-06-2006, 10:44 AM
I am so psyched for Sunday!