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How The Cardinals Win Week One

The Arizona Cardinals will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale Week One. Here’s how they come away 1-0.

The Arizona Cardinals will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week One of the 2022 NFL season just 🌟11🌟 days from now. Not surprisingly, most of the smart money is on the Chiefs to win the game. The Chiefs are still expected by many to be big players in the AFC, even with the loss of Tyreek Hill to Miami this offseason. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are expected by few to be major players in the NFC this season, a trend that mirrors last season.

Make no mistake, the Cardinals have a clear path to victory in this game against the Chiefs. But what does that path look like? There are a handful or so of unknowns for both teams at this point whose revelations could swing the game one way or another. What if, for instance, the Chiefs’ offense really is a step behind without Hill? What if the Cardinals’ secondary is better than it’s expected to be? What if the Kyler Murray – Marquise Brown tandem goes wild from the start?

Get The Offense Going Early

The Chiefs’ defense struggled mightily in the early part of last season. They were, however, much better in the second half of the season and have made attempts to tighten loose ends throughout training camp. But what if the Cardinals are able to poke early holes in that defense the way teams were able to last season? James Conner needs to make his presence known early in the game, continuing his ascendance to the top of the NFL’s running back tier.

A good performance from Conner ensures that Murray will be able to expand the passing game and get all the Cardinals’ weapons involved early and often. Fans are expecting big things from Brown, especially with DeAndre Hopkins out for six games. But look for big things all around. Rondale Moore, too, is poised for a breakout season after his solid rookie campaign last season. A.J. Green, Antoine Wesley, Greg Dortch, and Andy Isabella add to a wide-ranging wide receiving core.

Competence In The Secondary

The Cardinals signed Trayvon Mullen while they were finalizing the Week One 53-man roster in order to shore up the defensive secondary which has been a sore spot for much of the team’s coverage this preseason and training camp. In three seasons with the Raiders, Mullen has compiled four interceptions and 28 passes defended as well as 134 combined tackles. The Cardinals were in dire need of an addition like this before the start of the season.

Marco Wilson needs to step up for the Cardinals in year two. In his rookie season last year, he started in 13 of the 14 games he played in, had no interceptions, but did have two forced fumbles. His spot in the defensive back rotation is far from guaranteed long term and he needs to show up early and often to start this season. There’s no better time than Week One against the best quarterback playing currently in the NFL.

Throw KC Off Balance

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will help his defensive backs a lot by throwing a number of complex defensive schemes at Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs’ offense. The Cardinals will have quite their share of youth running around out there which means a lot of speed flying across the field. If Joseph can aid his defense in throwing the Chiefs off balance, perhaps that means some tipped passes, some sacks and quarterback rushes, etc.

Foremost, the Cardinals just need to play the kind of football they’ve proven themselves capable of. Though last season ended in disappointment, the team was definitely among the best in the NFL in the first half of the season. There’s no real reason why they can’t be so again this season. The running game needs to click. The defensive backs have to prove capable of holding their own. The offensive weapons need to shine. That’s it. Then, it’s just a matter of inches, as the grand old saying goes.

 
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