On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals hope to have luck on their sides as they host the Seattle Seahawks. Arizona continues to search for the first victory of 2019. The next Cardinals victory will be the first for both head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray. Ahead of the divisional clash, we take a look at what the offense will need to do, to ensure a Cardinals victory.
Lucky Number 7
Do you remember where you were on September 9, 2012? What’s the significance of the date? September 9, 2012, was the last time the Cardinals won a home game against the Seahawks. A loss or tie this year will be the seventh year without a home victory against Seattle. A tie in 2016 provides the only source of encouragement. In that game, Seattle missed a pair of kicks which would have sealed a victory. The seventh-year could be the charm for the Arizona offense.
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The Cardinals offense has struggled to create explosive plays with any form of consistency. Against the Panthers, a pair of deep throws were dropped by Arizona receivers. Both plays would have put the Cardinals in the red zone. The drops took the air out of the offense and stadium. Seattle has been susceptible to the big play this season. In each of their first three games, the Seahawks have allowed a play of over 30 yards through the air. If Arizona can hit on a few of the deep throws from Kyler Murray, it will go a long way to breaking the home curse against Seattle.
13. During home games against Seattle, the Cardinals offense has averaged less than 13 points over the last six meetings. On Sunday, the Cardinals expect to buck the trend. Through three games, Arizona’s offense has averaged just north of 21 points per game. While the scoring average is nothing to shy away from, the Cardinals could be enjoying a much larger number. Arizona has scored a touchdown in 36% of their red-zone possessions, third-worst in the NFL. An extra touchdown a game puts the Cardinals’ points per game average higher than Seattle’s.
The Cardinals need to double-down on their 13 by finishing drives with touchdowns. Seattle’s defense has surrendered yards and points through the opening three weeks. A fast start by the Cardinals offense could take away the ground game for the Seahawks. Last week saw Arizona’s red zone offense becoming functional. The trend needs to continue to keep the game within striking distance. Finishing drives add points to the scoreboard while pumping up the defense.
Know When To Fold
There is a saying around the NFL which attempts to explain a quarterback’s high sack numbers. To paraphrase, a significant percentage of sacks are a result of the quarterback holding on to the ball for an excessive amount of time. The NFL’s Next Gen Stats show Murray has an average of 2.58 seconds to throw, the same window as Carson Wentz and Mitch Trubisky. Murray has a higher average of time to throw than Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.
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Murray needs to get the football out of his hands. He has been sacked a total of 16 times, good enough for second-most. Murray’s inexperience shows in these moments. The young quarterback is looking to make a big play, looking to extend things until someone comes open. For the Cardinals offense to be successful, Murray will need to take a note from Kenny Loggins and know when to hold’em and when to fold’em. A throwaway is better than a sack.
Beating the House
The Cardinals offense has the pieces to be a successful offense. Murray looks deserving of the number one selection and the offense has shown great potential. However, Arizona remains winless and waiting for the offense to “go off”. If it happens on Sunday, the Cardinals are sure to find a victory. Here’s to hoping for the roulette ball to hit on red.