Week 1 was a complete disaster for the Arizona Cardinals. They were utterly embarrassed at home in their 44-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and never gave Patrick Mahomes a challenge defensively. While many saw the defensive struggles coming, the offense may have been more disappointing.
Arizona would always have to win a high-scoring game to beat the Chiefs. The offense, albeit riddled with injury and a suspension to their best player, did not show up.
This week’s opponent, the Las Vegas Raiders, is no pushover. Both these 2021 playoff teams are in desperate need of a win. Last season, no team that started 0-2 made the postseason and no one has done so since 2018.
Cardinals offense vs. Raiders defense
Michael Chow-Arizona Republic
Once again, the Cardinals have an opportunity on offense.
Vegas is dealing with major concerns defensively, as their already questionable cornerback room is being decimated by injury, something the Cardinals are familiar with.
Free agent signing Anthony Averett went down last week and the team is dealing with injuries to inside linebacker Denzel Perryman, as well as safety Tre’von Moehrig.
The Raiders’ star power on defense comes in the pass-rushing duo of Maxx Crosby and Cardinal great Chandler Jones. While the two were held in check last week, the Chargers’ offensive line is a vastly improved unit.
If the Cardinals are able to keep Crosby and Jones away from Murray, there should be holes in the defense. Perhaps the Cardinals can truly get Hollywood Brown going after not getting many targets last week.
The offense must keep the pressure off their defense as they try to find answers there. It starts by attacking the weakened Raiders secondary.
Raiders offense vs. Cardinals defense
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals’ defense should be healthier this matchup in comparison to last week. Defensive end J.J. Watt and cornerback Trayvon Mullen appear on track to play in this game, both of which should provide some stability.
The Raiders’ skill position group is one of the best in the NFL, featuring receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, as well as tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs.
Adams impressed in his Las Vegas debut, catching 10 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Adams will likely see coverage from Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson, with plenty of double-team looks. As for Waller, the Cardinals need a much better performance from Isaiah Simmons.
The Raiders’ offensive line is not in great shape. Derek Carr was constantly under pressure last week (albeit from the likes of Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa). They’re also dealing with some injuries, so perhaps Watt and company can provide much more pressure than they did last week.
Carr threw three interceptions last week, something the Cardinals must capitalize on. They cannot allow him to get comfortable early with soft zone and easy-completion looks.
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
WR Rondale Moore (hamstring)
S Jalen Thompson (toe)
DL J.J. Watt (calf)
CB Trayvon Mullen (toe)
OL Justin Pugh (neck)
RB Brandon Bolden (hamstring)
C Andre James (concussion)
S Tre’von Moehrig (hip)
LB Denzel Perryman (ankle)
CB Sam Webb (ankle)
The Cardinals and Raiders both need this win desperately. Falling to 0-2 just can’t happen in each of their respective divisions.
Defensively, the Cards should play much better than last week. Is it enough to stop Davante Adams? That’ll be the focal point of every secondary meeting this week.
Kyler Murray and company have to be better. They’re such a talented group and are playing a banged-up Raiders secondary. They must capitalize.