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Yo Cardinals, you've got some snoo on your nose. What's snoo? I dunno, what's new with you?

I don't actually know what's new with the Cardinals, but he might. But not knowing nothing anything never prevented me from talking at length about a subject. Let's discuss this weekend's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

What doesn't scare me: Their offense, for starters. It's been pretty soft throughout the season and now conventional wisdom says it gets worse. Starting QB Matt Leinart is on injured reserve and Kurt Warner has an ouchy on his elbow. His participation hinges on the Cardinals ability to "stabilize his elbow..." I guess it lacks structural integrity right now, or else they are trying to prevent its structural integrity from breaking down. It's science.

Back to stats. The Cardinals are 17th in yards per game with 332.8 offensively. They are middle of the road on 3rd down as well (42%) and can't seem to keep their hands on the football, with a -5 turnover ratio. I assure you that Coach Gibbs has noted that. Only four teams care less about maintaining possession. They are inefficient on a per play basis, gaining just 5.3 which ranks them 19th.

Despite all this, the Cardinals are putting up 21.3 ppg which isn't all that bad at 13th in the league. They're scoring pretty much equal parts through the air (6 TDs) and on the ground (5 TDs). Rushing they rank 17th in yards per game (106.7) 15th in per carry (4.0) and, not unlike Your Washington Redskins, haven't had a lot of success breaking things open, with just 3 rushes over 20+ yards and zero over 40+. By air they are 13th with 226.2 YPG though lack efficiency (6.8 ypa, 19th). With 6 touchdowns against 9 picks they are one of 11 NFL teams on the sadface side of an even TD:Int ratio. Given how strongly we've played defensively against our past two opponents, both strong offensive units, there's no reason for us to snooze on Arizona and lapse to 2006 levels. This is a game the defense can win.

What scares me: There are still some personnel concerns, despite the injuries at quarterback, that deserve mention. I'm not sold that Edge has lost it even if he is just averaging 4.0 yards a carry, a marked improvement on his 3.4 of last year. Darnell Dockett has already matched his previous career production in sacks with six this year, and is currently 4th in the NFL in that stat.

But when we mention Arizona and personnel, what we're really talking about are their two dynamic explosive play-making Why-don't-people-just-call-them-good? wide receivers in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. The latter is 5th in the league in receiving yards though has just one touchdown to his name and has fumbled thrice. Boldin only has 286 yards but that's in three games, putting him damn close to the century per game mark. He already has three touchdowns as well.

On defense elsewhere keep an eye on DE Antonio Smith who, along with the above mentioned Dockett, accounts for 10 of the team's 16 sacks. Roderick Hood and Adrian Wilson both have two picks each, the former taking one to the house 99 yards. Though Wilson, along with others, have missed some practice this week:

AZ injury list: Coach Ken Whisenhunt told us during a conference call that QB Kurt Warner did take some snaps in practice and despite ligament damage in his left elbow has not been ruled out for the game against the Skins on Sunday.. Whisenhunt said if the team can "stabilize his elbow, I will be optimistic that he might play." The team has not named a starting QB even suggesting that newly signed Tim Hasselbeck could start this weekend..
Those who did not participate in their practices: S Aaron Francisco (knee), LB Karlos Dansby (knee), S Adrian Wilson (hamstring), WR Sean Morey (concussion)..
Limited participation: T Levi Brown (ankle), QB Kurt Warner (elbow), DE Joe Tafoya (hamstring)..

WR Anquan Boldin has a hip injury but did take part in the Cardinals full practice...

The biggest injury worth watching is Kurt Warner who, in my opinion, gives Arizona their only shot at winning. Should Tim Rattay or Tim "Tim Hasselbeck" Hasselbeck play, I'm feeling like we've got a great shot at scoring defensive points this game.

Now we will hear a reading from the book of Football Outsiders, chapter DVOA, page 1, so sayeth brother Tanier:

Cardinals at Redskins: Last season, the Redskins offense never got on track, thanks in part to miscommunication between Joe Gibbs and assistant coach Al Saunders. Gibbs prefers a run-oriented attack, while Saunders prefers double-reverse-counter-option-screen-waggle plays. Gibbs and Saunders seem to still be sparring. The Redskins ran hard and often against early opponents, but their game plan against the Packers (more than 40 pass plays counting sacks, just 26 runs) had too much icing and not enough cake. Jason Campbell is developing into a quality player, but he would develop even faster if the Redskins would stick to the Clinton Portis-Ladell Betts one-two punch. Gibbs no doubt delivered a KISS (Keep it Simple, Saunders) speech this week. The conservative approach should produce an easy win at home against the Cardinals and Tim "Don't Walk Away" Rattay.
Alternative metric resolution says: Arizona is 17th in total DVOA with a -3.4% rating, a bland combination of equal parts mediocre on offense (16th), defense (18th), and special teams (15th). Tim Rattay has been horrible on an admittedly small sample selection. Edge is better in aggregate (DPAR - 9th) than he has been per play (DVOA - 22nd). Larry Fitzgerald is down this year. Their best tight end is some fellow named Leonard Pope and I don't know who he is. Their quarterbacks might not either; he has just 6 receptions (with a touchdown, though). Bright spots on the team is their offensive line, which is one of the best in the NFL: 6th in Adjusted Line Yards, 3rd in Power Success (85% of the time they have a 3rd or 4th down with under 2 yards to go, they convert. That is outstanding. By comparison, we convert 54% of the time and the league average is 66% of the time), and have the 9th least amount of runs "that result in (on first down) zero or negative gain or (on second through fourth down) less than one-fourth the yards needed for another first down." Their sack %, measure of sacks divided by pass snaps, is 2nd only to Indy at 3.4%, nearly half the league's average of 6.5%. It will be difficult to get to Tim Rattay Tim "Tim Hasselbeck" Hasselbeck.

I am interested in what you think even if you aren't all that interested in telling me. I feel confident about a home game against the Cardinals and, were I not to have this unusual sense of entitlement to a win, I'd have to admit that Your Washington Redskins aren't going to make the postseason. The key, in my opinion, is our defense vs. their quarterback, whomever that may be. Worst case scenario would be Tim "Tim Hasselbeck" Hasselbeck getting in the game and lighting up our defense, thus making me eat my left foot with my right foot for dessert, but that won't happen because cats don't chase dogs and the sun, petulant, stubborn star that it is, always rises. HTTR