Brady, Cardinals & outside passing

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
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ESPN.com NFC West reporter Mike Sando has produced an interesting blog post that ties together one of the Patriots' main weaknesses from 2011 with one of the Arizona Cardinals' biggest defensive strengths over the last 10 games -- production in the outside passing game.

When analyzing the Week 2 matchup between the teams, this is a solid place to start.

The Patriots' outside passing game wasn't a big part of their attack last year, mainly due to the failed Chad Ochocinco experiment, and that ultimately led them to sign Brandon Lloyd as a free agent this year. Lloyd made his presence felt quickly inthe season opener, with five catches for 69 yards (all outside the numbers).

Overall, Sando notes that Brady attempted 20 of his 31 passes outside the numbers in the season opener. He completed 16 of those 20 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.

But Brady might find it tougher to have that type of success against the Cardinals.

"The Cardinals have largely shut down perimeter throws while winning eight of their last 10 games dating to last season," Sando writes, adding that Arizona held Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to 6-of-17 passing for 54 yards on throws outside the yard-line numbers in the season opener.

A chart detailing the Cardinals' success in this area accompanies Sando's piece, which can be read HERE.

Good stuff, which highlights part of the challenge for Brady, Lloyd and the Patriots on Sunday.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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