Cards' defense can earn respect vs. Pats

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
5:00
PM ET
Damon from Orlando, Fla., thinks the Arizona Cardinals' defense is being overlooked after allowing zero drives longer than 45 yards until Seattle's final drive Sunday.

"No one is giving them credit for the win," Damon writes.

Sando: Russell Wilson was the story in that Week 1 game between the Cardinals and Seahawks. Kevin Kolb then drew our attention by coming off the bench to lead the winning drive for Arizona. Those events and a botched officiating decision overshadowed the Cardinals' defense.

The Cardinals' defense deserves credit for limiting Seattle to 254 yards, 3.6 yards per play and 16 points, even though factors beyond the defense's control gave the Seahawks favorable field position. Seattle began drives at the Arizona 42-yard line (field goal) and at the 24 (touchdown), 34 (field goal) and 16 (field goal).

That field-position trend cannot continue against New England in Week 2 because the Patriots are so much more capable than the Seahawks on offense.

Arizona sent five or more pass-rushers against Seattle more than half the time, the second-highest percentage in the league for Week 1. The Seahawks' offensive line did not react well. The Cardinals will need to generate more pressure from their conventional rush to affect Tom Brady, in my view. He'll be more dangerous against added pressure.

The chart, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information, shows how offenses have fared against Arizona since Week 9 last season. The Cardinals are 8-2 during that 10-game stretch (only the Patriots, at 9-1, have a better record over that stretch).

The chart's final row shows the Patriots' offensive production over the same weeks, providing a sense for what Arizona is up against.

Limiting Brady and the Patriots would secure for Arizona's defense the respect it deserves.

Note: The final column shows Total QBR figures, with 50 as average. The NFL passer rating for the Cardinals' opponents was 75.2 for these games. It was 107.6 for the Patriots' offense over the same stretch.

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