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Here's Cardinals' Clear Path to Victory Against Kansas City

The Arizona Cardinals kick off the 2022 regular season this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Here's how they can upset Patrick Mahomes and company:

The Arizona Cardinals kick off the 2022 regular season this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City are facing a critical year as they have a lot to prove while also trotting out a new-look offense.

Gone is Tyreek Hill and his explosiveness that made the Chiefs offense that much more of an issue. In are new receiving faces Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and rookie Skyy Moore. 

All three have their own skillset they bring and collectively they hope to keep the Chiefs passing game alive with Mahomes.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals also come in with some new faces on offense and with a chip on their shoulder. 

DeAndre Hopkins is out for the first six games of the year due to a failed drug test this offseason. Add in the loss of Christian Kirk and you have a Cardinals offense looking for some help before in steps a former teammate of Kyler Murray. Marquise Brown comes over to the desert in a trade with Baltimore and on paper, problem solved. 

Looking at things from this angle “on paper” is all that is available in the opening week of a new season. With so many questions swirling around both teams, there is a clear path for the Cardinals to victory.

Utilize the Short Passing Game

Photo: Alex Weiner, Sports Illustrated

When watching back the Chiefs game against the Ravens last year one thing stuck out, they wasted no time getting Brown the ball. 

They got the ball in his hands with both screens and quick routes across the middle or heading to the sideline. Once they tighten up the defense underneath they took the top off with Brown.

He finished with six catches for 113 yards and one touchdown. If they can get that stat line out of Brown this weekend then the offense could be sitting right where they want. 

Dabble in some short passing game work with both Rondale Moore and Andy Isabella and you have the first step to success.

Establish the Run Early

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last year Kansas City lost five games. In those five games is a number that the Cardinals should be focusing on: 122. 

The Chiefs gave up an average of 122 rushing yards to those opponents. The running backs they faced were all over in terms of talent; for Kliff Kingsbury it should be all about utilizing the new bell cow James Conner.

Coming off a career year, relying on Conner in Week 1 wouldn’t be the worst approach as the battle for time of possession is going to be massive in this game. 

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Utilizing Conner 20-25 times a game can tip those scales into the Cardinals favor. 

Oh, and we almost forgot to mention the Cardinals averaged 122 rushing yards per game last year, funny how that works out.

Force Turnovers

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker

The Chiefs are going to pass the ball a lot, a minimum of 30 times can be projected. The more passes attempted, the more chances the secondary has to make a play and force a turnover. In four of their five losses last year, the Chiefs had at least two turnovers.

Just like winning time of possession, winning the turnover battle is going to make or break this game. The Chiefs throw a lot of different schemes and looks on film when it comes to their defense. Kyler Murray is going to have to come out the gates firing but so too will Mahomes. 

The Chiefs have been slow starters in past seasons, if luck is in the Cardinals' favor that may be the case again.

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