Each week we’ll check in with a beat writer from the opposing team to get the inside scoop heading into the game. This week we check in with the esteemed Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic on the Cardinals.
1. Ok, the Cardinals’ defense is pretty good, but I’m having a hard time seeing how the Cardinals move the ball behind that line. What am I missing?
KS: “You are missing nothing. The line is a huge problem. It had deficiencies even before LT Levi Brown went down in the preseason with a torn triceps tendon. Left tackle D’Anthony Batiste is in his seventh season but he made only his fifth start last week. The other four starts were at guard in Atlanta in 2007. Right tackle Bobby Massie, a fourth-round pick, played decently last week in his first start. The Cardinals couldn’t run against Seattle. The Seahawks are pretty stout up front, though..”
2. Who is the one Cardinals player most Patriots fans don’t know right now, but will by the end of the game on Sunday?
KS: “I’d say right outside linebacker Sam Acho, a fourth-round pick in 2011. He became a starter midway through last season and finished with seven sacks. He’s very smart and has great instincts. He sniffed out a swing pass last week and caused a fumble. He seems to do something like that every game.”
3. What’s the biggest weakness on the Cardinals’ offense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?
KS: “The whole offensive line, I’d say. The Cardinals need to be able to run just a little bit but they couldn’t do it last week. Plus, Kevin Kolb hasn’t shown he can handle pressure. If you get to him early, he tends to get anxious and leaves the pocket too early.”
4. What’s the biggest weakness on the Cardinals’ defense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?
KS: “Cornerback William Gay played well last week but teams seemed to go at him in the preseason. Patrick Peterson strained a groin in Thursday’s practice so we don’t know his condition. I expect him to play. But I’d say teams will go at Gay, who moves inside in nickel packages, and at rookie Jamell Fleming, who plays the outside in nickel. If Adrian Wilson has a weakness, it’s been defending tight ends occasionally. He’s better against the run than the pass.”
5. Finally, Cardinals win on Sunday if….
KS: “…they have two fewer turnovers than the Patriots and they get a big play in the return game.