Since 2003, New England has won the last five games in the series, including a 47-7 win over Arizona back in 2008 (the Cardinals Super Bowl year), which was the Cardinals first ever trip to Foxboro, Mass.
The two teams meet again at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, and for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, one of his biggest concerns is how his offense will be able to handle the Cardinals defense.
“They are aggressive and they are fast,” Belichick said. “They have some impact players, some guys you absolutely have to handle on every play, or they will just ruin the game.”
Belichick put the spotlight on Arizona’s defensive pass rush, and in particular, defensive ends Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett.
“Those guys, really, they’re outstanding,” Belichick said. “Dockett is really hard to block, he’s quick, really active, and Campbell is long and quick. He has power and quickness to go with it.”
As if the pass rush of the Cardinals wasn’t going to be enough for New England, factor in the Arizona secondary, especially safety Adrian Wilson and cornerback Patrick Peterson, two players Belichick knows will be a load to handle.
“Wilson is definitely a guy that you have to know where he is on every snap,” Belichick said. “He knows where the ball is, is obviously a big hitter, and he can control the middle of the field.”
“I know Peterson is a tremendous athlete,” Belichick said. “Of course he’s got great ball skills, and if he gets the ball in his hands, that’s big trouble.”
The world saw Kevin Kolb last Sunday, and how he drove the Cardinals offense down the field for the eventual game winning score against the Seahawks, which impressed Belichick from afar.
“He [Kolb] did an excellent job of moving the team and making good decisions,” Kolb said. “He’s athletic and mobile back there, [an] experienced player that took advantage of the opportunity and came through in a big way.”
Although the Cardinals didn’t run the ball the way they would’ve liked to against Seattle – only gaining 43 yards as a team – you still have to respect the players and their skills, which Belichick clearly does.
“It’s a good group of backs, they’re deep and they’re explosive,” Belichick said. “They all have speed to get to the corner, but they can definitely take it up inside and blast through there too.”
“All those guys can hit the home run on you.”