Meanwhile, Arizona has put up 29.3 points per home game (again, only trailing New England). It ranks third in passing yards and touchdowns, and its overall defense is 11th.
All of that said, the Giants -- who are to road games what the Cardinals are to home games -- present a stiff test, probably the toughest since 5-0 Chicago visited in '06. (Remember, Arizona led for 57 minutes of that
To stay on pace, Warner and his receivers not only have to overcome a Giants secondary that ranks second in the NFL in yards allowed (174.8), but also the Cardinals' line will have to buy Warner time against a ferocious Giants pass rush. Remarkably, those two New York units have existed almost completely independently of each other. The Giants manage most of their pressure with down linemen and without blitzing. Of their 31 sacks, 28 have come from ends (
In this game, it seems likely that the Giants' pass rush will dictate the success of Warner, who has a tendency to unravel under serious duress. Since arriving in Arizona in 2005, Warner is 3-9 in games where he's sacked at least three times, including an 0-6 record in four-plus sack games.
That total includes one of the Cardinals three '08 losses, a 56-35 dismantling at the hands of the New York Jets. Warner was as much to blame as anyone for that loss. Admittedly, the Jets front three were all over Warner, racking up five sacks. But Warner should be held accountable for most of the damage. During one five-series stretch to round out the first half, Warner did the following in succession:
• On third-and-eight from his own 26 he tossed a lame duck that
• Arizona gained one first down on the next series, then punted.
• On the first play of the following series Warner threw another pick at his own 25.
• On the third play of the next drive he coughed up the ball on his own 40.
• On the Cardinals' first play of their final possession before half, with 10 seconds on the clock, Warner fumbled again, this time on his own 12, thus allowing the Jets to tack on a field goal before the half.
Before the first interception, Arizona had trailed 7-0. When
For starters, that means getting
In his self-assessment this week Jacobs said, "It's just a nagging thing that's been there, but I don't think it will hold me out... There is no pain and I don't feel restricted." If the call goes to Jacobs, who was limited Thursday, it sounds like he'll play. But don't be surprised if
Losing Jacobs wouldn't be the end of the world. Yes, the Cardinals run defense, which ranks seventh in the NFL, has improved leaps and bounds under Whisenhunt. But the Giants backups are up to the task. In five games without Jacobs in '07 the Giants went 3-2. And in the four games that
In '08, Coughlin has gone to extremes to make sure Ward and
• On Kurt Warner: "The biggest change in him is we hit him all the time. He waits, he knows he's going to get hit and he unloads it at the last second. He's really smart and he knows where the coverage is going to be and he unloads it to a spot and the receivers catch it. Drew Brees, in New Orleans, is like that.
"Weaknesses? We were able to bat a few of his balls down because his release point is a little low. You can knock his mobility, but he has the guts and the courage to stand in there."
• On Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin: "They have other physical qualities other than their size: athletic ability and speed. That makes it very, very tough. And they're both competitive. I bet they compete with each other, one of those things where if one guy makes a catch, the other guy wants to make one. Each one wants to have the most. They also have great awareness of coverage, and they're very in-tune with [Warner]."
• On the Cardinals' offense: "Against teams that have been able to get to Warner, they have been going much more with a quick game instead of the deeper, longer stuff. That's smart because he's so hot and they don't want him to get hurt. If they don't have him, they're in trouble."
• On the offensive line: "They've gotten better. A year ago, we thought it was suspect. That was something you could exploit. But not anymore."
All due respect to the Cardinals' defense, which has performed admirably in '08 and which will continue to grow under Whisenhunt, but I think this game comes down to offensive lines. The Giants' unit should keep