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Giants - Cardinals
Game 2 preview
Sun Sept 14, 1:00 PM - Cardinals at Giants

Giants (0-1) vs Cardinals (1-0)
The Cardinals started their season right after the Giants in the second Monday Night Football game broadcast last week. They managed to beat the Chargers 18-17 by coming from behind with 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
The Giants
were working in a new system and it showed. The resulting 35-14 loss to the Lions now has them losing in their last four consecutive season openers. The 21 point margin on Monday was their biggest since losing 35-0 to the Cowboys in 1995. Giants - Lions Wrap-Up

Arizona Cardinals
They are in the NFC West, the same division as the Seattle Seahawks who won it all last year. That's tough competition alone not to mention that there's also a San Francisco team in the mix, making for four challenging division games each season. The Cardinals had brought themselves up from a 5-11 record in 2012 to 10-6 which usually means playoffs, but not in this division. The Seahawks were 13-3 and the 49ers were 12-4. The other team contending is the St. Louis Rams although they haven't been contending very much. The last time the Rams won more than seven games was 2006. Three NFC West teams won their opening games last week and one didn't - right, just those non-contending Rams.

Arizona Cardinals Offense
Quarterback Carson Palmer came to the Cardinals last year in a trade with the Raiders. It's no coincidence that the team jumped from the last place offense to being ranked number 12. Palmer didn't do it all by himself, but his 362 completions now has him listed second only to Kurt Warner in the teams' record books. Running back Andre Ellington was a rookie 6th round draft pick last year and he certainly made his presence known. His contribution was a 5.5 average yards per carry last year, the best of all the running backs in the NFL. Ellington is also a pass catching threat averaging 9.5 yards a catch and he pulls in just about 2 of every 3 passes that come his way.
Ellington bettered himself already, starting off this season catching all 5 that Palmer threw to him for 54 yards. Rashard Mendenhall was the heavy duty ball carrier back last year but he has retired. Ellington will have to show now that he can hold up as the lead runner and he was already hurt last week with an injury to his left foot.
Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald is a top notch receiver. More than half his catches result in first downs, although for some reason they waited until the the fourth quarter last game before throwing one his way. Considering the Cardinals were down 17-6 at that point it makes you wonder why. Fitzgerald is 31 and in a contract year so maybe the team is phasing him out? The last time Fitzgerald finished a game with just one catch was in 2012. Last week Michael Floyd was the featured receiver with 5 receptions for 119 yards and rookie John Brown scored their go-ahead touchdown.

Arizona Cardinals Defense
This defense was tough to run on last year and they showed a continuation of that last week when they held the Chargers to just 52 yards on the ground. They brought pressure but failed to get a sack on Philip Rivers in Monday night's game. It won't be helpful to them to be without starting outside linebacker John Abraham (11.5 sacks last season) who suffured a concussion and will be out for this game. Veteran defensive tackle Frostee Rucker also will not play.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson was drafted by the Cardinals three years ago and has made the Pro Bowl every year since. They brought in Antonio Cromartie from the Jets to play opposite him and the two usually look to play man-to-man coverage in the secondary. It will take a lot of confidence for a quarterback to throw deep on this secondary.

Giants offense
I guess you have to say that Rashad Jennings, with his 50 yards receiving and 46 rushing yards with one touchdown, is one thing you hope they will be able to grow on. Second year player tight end Larry Donnell had a career-high five catches for 56 yards and his first touchdown. Donnell could be the right answer for that one position, where the Giants were questionable. That's where the good news stops.
The offensive line played poorly and did not provide much comfort to Eli Manning resulting in a number of hurried throws. The blocking was not up to par for running backs Jennings and Andre Williams. Victor Cruz caught only two passes out of Manning's six. It sure would help if all the receivers, including Cruz who watched an interception slowly unfold before him, were more aware of the players surrounding them at all times.

Giants defense
This was supposed to be the strength of the Giants this season, but on Monday they allowed 417 total yards, including 341 yards passing, which was the most by any opponent since 2012 against New Orleans. The secondary had some missed communications that need to be cleaned up and play to their level of talent. Up front they brought some pressure last week, but no sacks. Detroit's Matthew Stafford was able to sidestep that pressure and burn the Giants secondary. It should be noted that both Carson Palmer and Andre Ellington fumbled the ball away in their game, so there might be some opportunity there.
Damontre Moore almost got to Stafford, but was burned on that play. He didn't get much playing time after that and the Giants seemed to allude this week that maybe it was a mistake on their part. Moore was their sack leader and best pass-rusher in preseason and he is needed on the field to complement Jason Pierre-Paul.

Overall
The Giants have an edge as both teams are working on a short week, but the Cardinals have a long travel day, and with this game starting at 1pm, that's actually an early 10am Arizona time for them. Carson Palmer was on the injury report with a right shoulder issue and he missed practices, as did Andre Ellington. That's the end of the edges. For the Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason will be playing with a sore foot and punter Steve Weatherford was hurt last week and will have to see how that plays out.
Obviously the Giants have to pick up their game and play at least like an average NFL team compared to what they showed us last week. They do also have the comfort of playing at home in familiar surroundings and maybe that will soften some of the edginess they felt last week working in a new system.

NFC East
The Giants play at 1pm Sunday the same time that the Redskins (0-1) host the the Jaguars (0-1), and the Cowboys (0-1) play in their away game at Tennessee with the Titans (1-0). On Monday night at 8:30pm, the Eagles (1-0) play in Indianapolis against the Colts (0-1). The Redskins are the only NFC East team favored to win in these four games. Check out.
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Notes.

Giants will celebrate their 90th season as a member of the NFL on Sunday.

Giants Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford will serve as the Giants Honorary Captain for the coin toss.

Giants, since playing their first game on October 11, 1925, have a regular-season record of 661-548-44.

Cardinals Carson Palmer has posted back to back 4000 yard seasons.

Cardinals John Abraham leads all active players with his 133.5 sacks and is 9th on the all time list.

Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald has caught at least one pass in 150 consecutive games.
Next Games
Sept 21- Texans at Giant.
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Sept 25 - Giants at Washington.
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