The last time the Cardinals traveled to Foxborough, Mass., it was the year 2008, during a snow out, and they were nearly SHUTOUT, falling 47-7 to a Tom Brady-less Patriots team.
That was then, and this is now…
How can Arizona go into Gillette Stadium, a place the Patriots have only lost in 13 times since the building opened, and come away 2-0 on the season?
No matter who the quarterback is (Kevin Kolb or John Skelton), their play has to be equal to, if not better than Brady’s on Sunday, which will be difficult considering how tough he is to break in his house.
The crowd will be loud because it’s the season opener at Gillette, but that can’t become a factor to the QB. Whichever quarterback it is, he needs to trust that his line will hold and give him time to make the right throws to the right receivers, and get the ball in the hands of his running backs, who are clearly capable as well.
The Patriots defense held the Titans in check last week, forcing two turnovers and holding Chris Johnson to four yards rushing.
The offensive line is going to have to do better than Tennessee did, and keep Jerod Mayo, Chandler Jones and Don’t’a Hightower in check, or it could be a long afternoon.
If the offensive line does the above, that should set the running game up well for movement. The more the Cardinals can run the ball and keep Brady off the field, the better off they’ll be.
The Patriots had nearly 400 yards of offense last Sunday.
The defense cannot allow Brady to sit back in the pocket comfortably and make easy decisions all day.
Ray Horton has to dial up some exotic and crazy formations, which make sense to him and his defense, but not to Brady.
If the front seven can get penetration and keep Brady on the run, then they’ve got him right where they want him.
The secondary also needs to stay disciplined in their schemes as well, and keep their heads on a swivel for whatever comes their way.
They also can’t let Stevan Ridley get loose and get big chunks of yardage, like he did last week.
Penalties (Arizona had 10 last week, New England had three), time of possession and special teams play all have to factor in the Cardinals favor in Foxborough.
The Patriots will rarely beat themselves in a game, so the smarter team on Sunday, with the best field position will have the greater shot of winning the game.