The Cardinals are 2-0 with a chance to stay unbeaten on Sunday.
Arizona heads east to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, an 0-2 team with double-digit losses in each of their first two games.
The Cardinals escaped Week 2 with a 34-33 victory over the Vikings, but only after Minnesota kicker Greg Joseph missed a game-winning field goal as time expired.
This left the Cardinals players happy about the win, but understanding that the team needs to improve to avoid leaving games up to chance.
The Jaguars have a first-year head coach in Urban Meyer and quarterback, No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence.
They were outscored during the first two weeks 60-34, but the Cardinals are emphasizing that they cannot overlook any opponent.
"It's the NFL, guys," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. "Every week, if you're not playing your best ball, you can lose."
Sunday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. Arizona time
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It's been a slow start for the Jaguars on offense. Lawrence completed 14 of 33 passes last Sunday for 118 yards. The team as a whole gained just 189 against Denver.
The Jaguars have yet to establish a run game with just 76 yards in each of the first two weeks.
This has led to Lawrence having a lot of straight dropbacks from the shotgun, which has made the offense one-dimensional.
The Cardinals defense has had an objective of stopping teams on early downs to set up passing situations. It did so against Tennessee for the entirety of Week 1, and improved on that front in the second half against the Vikings.
That will be the key again this week.
"If the running game is working, it's so hard to call a clean game because obvious pass downs now become mixed downs," Joseph said. "So stopping the run game early for a young quarterback is critical for us . . . We can obviously play more pass downs and rush the passer and play coverage."
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury called Lawrence one of the best prospects of the past two decades, so making his life harder is the goal.
On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars run a 3-4, like the Cardinals, and have been able to garner some pressure. With the 11th-highest blitz rate so far, the Jaguars have the best pressure rate in the NFL.
However, Jacksonville has yet to force a turnover and allowed scores on 48% of possessions, seventh highest in the league.
Both quarterbacks it has faced put up big numbers, and for Arizona, Kyler Murray has done the same.
Murray is eighth in completion percentage and third in passing yards. The Cardinals offense has scored on half of its possessions, tied for the fifth-best clip in the league.
But, with all the explosive plays and long scrambles, the Cardinals have turned the ball over three times and struggled last Sunday to put the game away when given the chance.
It's early, and the Cardinals have the fourth-most yards per play in the league, but there is room to grow and the players harped on that this week.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
CB Byron Murphy Jr.
CB Marco Wilson
RT Kelvin Beachum
RG Brian Winters
OT Joshua Miles
CB C.J. Henderson
CB Tre Herndon
DL Roy Robertson-Harris
The Cardinals may have to adjust to life without Hopkins for the first time since he joined the team in 2020. The All-Pro receiver will be a game-day decision, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
For Jacksonville, Henderson is a starting cornerback and a top-10 pick from 2020.
These two franchises have squared off only five times ahead of Sunday.
The Cardinals won three, but the most recent was in 2017.
Arizona was up 13-0 at home, fell behind 17-16 in the fourth quarter, but won 27-24 after kicker Phil Dawson hit a 57-yard field goal as time expired.
That Jaguars team ended up reaching the AFC Championship game.
Chandler Jones had two sacks that day...
History to be made
- Jones is 1.0 sack away from breaking the Cardinals franchise record of 66.5 owned by Freddie Joe Nunn. Jones has the second-most sacks in the league since he joined the Cardinals in 2016.
- Rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore eclipsed 100 yards last week against the Vikings. If he does so again, he would be the first Cardinals rookie to gain 100 receiving yards in consecutive games.
- Murray needs three touchdown passes to be the second Cardinal to ever throw for 10 touchdowns in the first three games of a season. The first was Charley Johnson in 1965.
The Cardinals have said they are focused only on Sunday's game this week and that overlooking an opponent is a mistake.
"I don't believe in (trap games)," Murray said. "If we don't come to play, we don't come to play."
Left tackle D.J. Humphries believes that on any given Sunday, any team can win, so the Cardinals better be sharp.
Players to watch
CB Robert Alford
The Cardinals don't have an interception from a defensive back this season, so the cornerback will be the first.
OLB Isaiah Simmons
Simmons is off to a promising start and now gets to face his college teammate, Lawrence. Maybe he knows a tell or two to get the upper hand.
NT Rashard Lawrence
Plugging up the middle will be key for Arizona's defense. The Cardinals will need Lawrence to hold his ground in order to turn Jacksonville into a pass-first team on Sunday.