Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to throw the ball during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Saints fans the time has finally arrived—the undefeated New Orleans Saints are set to take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 NFL action. New Orleans is coming of consecutive NFC South victories over the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Things have not been as positive for the Arizona Cardinals, a team that lost its first game against the St. Louis Rams before defeating the Detroit Lions last week.
Here is everything fans need to know about the game.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
When: 1:00 PM ET, September 22, 2013
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket, Game Rewind
Cardinals Player to Watch: Larry Fitzgerald
Sep 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) runs with the ball during the first half against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Without the presence of a serious running game, the Cardinals are going to need to rely on the the passing attack led by quarterback Carson Palmer.
One problem—the team’s best player, receiver Larry Fitzgerald, is nursing an injury and may not be at 100 percent.
If Fitzgerald doesn’t play the Cardinals are in trouble. If he does but is not effective, the Saints and a much-improved defense could have little issue shutting down the Arizona offense. Monitor it closely.
Saints Player to Watch: Chris Carr and Corey White
Aug 25, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive back Chris Carr (40) warms up against the Houston Texans before the game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Fitzgerald or not, the depth of the Saints is about to be tested in a big way, especially at cornerback. With Patrick Robinson lost for the year, cornerbacks Chris Carr (recently re-signed) and Corey White need to step up in a big way in the slot.
The good news is the Saints have rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro who can rotate in and play corner as well as safety. That said, the corners themselves are going to need to have a quality outing to prove the team can survive without Robinson.
Matchup to Watch: Saints Receivers vs. Cardinals Secondary
August 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) runs the ball on offense against Dallas Cowboys during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The only true threat the Cardinals present outside of a decent pass-rush is a secondary featuring elite corner Patrick Peterson and rookie corner Tyrann Mathieu.
Everyone knows what Peterson is capable of on any play, but it’s Mathieu who has surprised this year as a serious playermaker. Rashad Johnson is quietly one of the better safeties in the league, so Saints quarterback Drew Brees needs to carefully spread the ball around in order to avoid the wealth of talent in the Cardinals’ secondary.
Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) celebrates with tight end Jimmy Graham (80) after Graham scores a touchdown during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
At the end of the day, the Saints are simply the superior football team. Arizona has an underrated defense, but the Saints proved last week it can move the ball up and down the field on a quality unit.
The Cardinals’ best player has health concerns, and for a team in rebuild mode that simply isn’t good enough. At home the Saints are nearly untouchable, and they’ll prove that here against a mediocre Cardinals squad.
Saints 35, Cardinals 17
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