We are just a day away from the Chiefs-Cardinals game and to get us ready I talked with our Cardinals blogger at Revenge Of The Birds. Jess was kind enough to give me some answers to my questions about the Cardinals. I leave our Q&A feeling like the Cardinals are similar to last year's Chiefs team where there's not always a great explanation for how they're winning. They're just ... winning.
One of the key matchups for the Chiefs will be Jamaal Charles and his ability to gain yards on the ground. The Cardinals defense has been strong against the run though. This will be a fun matchup to watch because the Cardinals haven't faced many backs like Jamaal.
Head on over to Revenge of the Birds for the Cardinals perspective this weekend. Read our Q&A below.
1. The Cardinals have one of the best records in the league. I don't know much about Arizona. How are they doing this?
ROTB: Well, currently they aren't doing it. They were winning games ugly. They played pretty even for three quarters and dominated the fourth quarter. They weren't turning the ball over and they were taking the ball away. They were effective on third down. They were stopping the run. That's how they got to 9-1. They stopped doing those things over the last couple of games and they have lost. So there you have it.
2. The Chiefs will want to establish the run. How have the Cardinals done against a top back in the same mold as Jamaal Charles?
ROTB: They have done very well against starting running backs. Dating back to the beginning of the defensive coordinator Todd Bowles era, the most yards the Cardinals have given up to a running back is 101. Frank Gore did it in 2013 and Steven Jackson did it last weekend. And taking away one 55-yard run, which actually set the tone for the game, Arizona held him to 2.7 yards per carry.
Now ... Joique Bell and LeSean McCoy could have reached 100 yards had they gotten enough carries, so we'll have to wait and see.
3. Carson Palmer is out for the season. What's one thing Drew Stanton doesn't do well? One thing he does do well?
ROTB: He knows the offense. He is terrible with pressure, though. His throws over the middle are inaccurate, but he is willing to take shots down the field and has been rewarded for it. He generally makes good reads and took care of the ball up until the last three games
4. The Chiefs run defense has been a problem. Can the Cardinals run the ball effectively? What is the RB rotation?
ROTB: Cardinals RB Andre Ellington will be out. That means Marion Grice will be the starter. Depending on how well he has learned the offense, Michael Bush could be the change of pace bruiser. Otherwise, it will be Stepfan Taylor. I can't say with any confidence that the Cards will be able to run the ball. We have seen only a handful of carries from Marlon Grice, who will help replace Andre Ellington, and they were unable to run against the Falcons, who have had a terrible run defense. The last two weeks the Cardinals hopes they could run the ball. They failed both weeks. So ... yeah.
5. What's your prediction for Chiefs-Cardinals?
ROTB: It is going to be ugly. Home field advantage prevails. I see a 16-13 Cardinals win. Lots of field goals.