TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 2: Arizona Cardinals At New England Patriots

Cardinals
Patriots
Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals
New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback
The Cardinals got an unexpected lift from Kevin Kolb in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks after starter John Skelton went down with an ankle injury. Kolb will likely get the start against the Patriots, and that’s bad news for Arizona even though he threw the game-winning touchdown pass in Week One.
Winner The Patriots have their eyes on the Super Bowl prize once again and they may get there because Tom Brady is so sharp and consistent. He does not let down against low-level opponents like the Cardinals.
Offense
The Cardinals have one of the best No. 1 receivers in the league in Larry Fitzgerald. Early Doucet is a decent complementary wideout while tight end Todd Heap will hold on to any pass he can touch.
Winner The Patriots will look to Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker as the top targets for Brady. While the running game is still developing, the Pats may have the best offensive line in the league.
Defense
Winner The Cardinals developed into a surprisingly effective defense in the second half of the 2011 season and they came through with a solid effort against the Seahawks in Week One. Keep your eye on linebacker Darryl Washington, who had 10 tackles and a sack in Week One.
Winner The Patriots were a poor defensive team last year, but they shut down the Tennessee ground game in Week One. Linebacker Jerrod Mayo has become a leader and started the season with nine solo tackles and four assists, while Patrick Chung is a gamechanger in the secondary.
Special Teams
Winner The Cardinals have the best punt returner in the NFL – sorry Devin Hester – in Patrick Peterson. He returned four punts for touchdowns last year and LaRod Stephens-Howling is a plus kickoff returner.
The Patriots don’t have dominant special teams, but they are certainly consistent with placekicker Stephen Gostkowski. Zoltan Mesko is a strong directional punter who dropped three inside the 20 against the Titans.

The Winner Is

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winner Patriots
3 out of 4

The Cardinals are a scrappy and hustling team. They lack talent at the quarterback position. This is too tough of an assignment for a team that has a deficiency at such an important position. While the Pats have no designs on an undefeated season and will have one or two unimpressive games, this will not be one of them.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Best Sports Families

    In their weekly draft of anything and everything, “Starkey and Mueller Show” elected to draft the best sports families of all-time. Here’s how the draft played out.

  2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts At New York Giants

    The Colts are going to have to shake off last week’s pounding at Pittsburgh, and that’s going to be one more test for Andrew Luck.

  3. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Pittsburgh Steelers

    Joe Flacco was not at his best in the Ravens’ Week Eight loss at Cincinnati, as he completed 17-of-34 passes for 195 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,196 other followers