The Atlanta Falcons look to notch their first road win as they head out west to face the Arizona Cardinals.
The Falcons (2-4) rode Harry Douglas, who had to step into the role as the top target with Julio Jones being out for the season and Roddy White nursing ankle and hamstring injuries, and Matt Ryan to victory last week over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Douglas will likely be the top option against the Cardinals again as White has been ruled out.
Atlanta’s rushing attack struggled mightily against the Bucs, posting a measly 18 yards. However, that running game will get a massive boost with the return of Steven Jackson, who is listed as probable.
The Cardinals (3-4) have dropped their last two games and sit last in the NFC West.
Carson Palmer has thrown at least one interception in every game this season, including multiple picks in the last five games.
Arizona has also struggled to protect Palmer, allowing him to get sacked 20 times.
For the Falcons to win this game, the defense has to prey on Palmer’s penchant for turning the ball over and the Cardinals’ inability to protect him.
However, Atlanta has struggled in both sacking the quarterback and taking the ball away. The Falcons are ranked 26th in sacks with 14, and 25th in interceptions with just three.
The Falcons will see a familiar face on the other side in the ball in John Abraham.
Atlanta released Abraham this past offseason after he spent seven seasons with the team. Abraham has picked up two sacks and two forced fumbles with his new team.
Arizona’s Daryl Washington could pose problems for Atlanta, too.
The inside linebacker was suspended for the first three games of the season, but has posted 17 tackles, two sacks, and one interception in the three games he’s played in.
Ryan threw five interceptions en route to a 23-19 victory last season over the Cardinals in the Georgia Dome.
The last time the two teams met in Arizona was in the 2008 Wild Card, and the Cardinals pulled out the 30-24 win.
While Arizona isn’t a very good team, neither is Atlanta at this point. However, the Falcons do have the better quarterback, and that’s why I think they will get their first victory on the road.
Points Scored: 25.5 (9th)
Total Offense: 374.7 (9th)
Passing Offense: 306.3 (3rd)
Rushing Offense: 68.3 (30th)
Points Allowed: 26.2 (23rd)
Total Defense: 366.3 (20th)
Passing Defense: 266.7 (23rd)
Rushing Defense: 99.7 (11th)
Points Scored: 19.0 (25th)
Total Offense: 309.7 (29th)
Passing Offense: 232.0 (17th)
Rushing Offense: 77.7 (26th)
Points Allowed: 23.0 (18th)
Total Defense: 349.7 (16th)
Passing Defense: 252.7 (19th)
Rushing Defense: 97.0 (7th)