Kevin Kolb is out, John Skelton is back, and the Arizona Cardinals (4-3) have just two quarterbacks on the roster: Skelton and rookie, Ryan Lindley.
In addition, the Cards top two running backs, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams are out for the season, leaving William Powell, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith to handle the duties on the ground.
On top of that, the Cardinals two starting tackles are numbers one and two in the league for sacks allowed and pressures allowed.
Not a good offensive picture for the Arizona Cardinals, especially when you’re about to face one of toughest defenses in the league. If Skelton can hold up physically and manage the offense, the Cards may have a shot at putting a couple touchdowns on the board, but if anything happens to Skelton, this game could get ugly real fast.
"We have a lot of issues that we're working on offensively to get a little better at,'' Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I hope that we can do that. We're going against a good defense this week.''
To be fair, the Vikings (4-3) aren’t exactly light-years ahead of the Cardinals when it comes to offense. Quarterback Christian Ponder is still in his first full season as a starter and he turned the ball over five times in the past two weeks.
Let’s face it, the Cardinals and Vikings have to be two of the biggest surprises so far this season, with both teams starting the season with 4-2 records. Both teams were considered to be in a rebuilding phase than a play-off phase, but instead of being at the bottom of the standings, both are near the top of their respective divisions.
Sunday’s game in Minnesota will be the third time in the last three seasons that the Cardinals have had to travel to Minneapolis to play, and the Vikings have won the last two. Last year's game was a disaster for the Cards and they can only hope that this year’s game will be a complete opposite of last year's.
The Cardinals and Vikings are both about to jump into the tougher part of their schedules, so both teams could use the win, especially the Cardinals, who are about to take on San Francisco, Green Bay and Atlanta.
"We know we are a good team," linebacker Daryl Washington said. "We know we can play well any week. We just have to continue to execute and stick to the plan.''
That will be the key for the Cardinals, sticking to the game plan and hopefully executing well enough to score enough points to win.
The Cards defense will be without starting safety Kerry Rhodes (back spasms) and cornerback Greg Toler (hamstring), so the backups will have to play at a higher level in order for the defense to maintain its dominance.
The Cardinals have one of the better defenses in the league, allowing just 16.2 points per game, fourth best in the league. Now all they need is for the offense to score more than 17 and they might just pull off a win.
The Cardinals are six and a half point underdogs as of this writing, and the odds makers are remarkably accurate.
My prediction: Vikings 24, Cardinals 14
Hopefully, I’m wrong!
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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