TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals At Tennessee Titans

Arizona Cardinals
Tennessee Titans
(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Carson Palmer bounced back from a tough loss in Philadelphia and was brilliant in the Cardinals Week 14 victory over the Rams as he completed 27-of-32 passes for 269 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Palmer is completing 64.3 percent of his passes this season and he has cut down on his interceptions after a rough start in that area.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a decent backup quarterback, but that does not mean the Titans are going to win consistently with him in the lineup. Fitzpatrick has a fairly quick release and he can throw the short- and medium-range passes. He is also athletic enough to make plays on the run. However, he makes too many mistakes (eight interceptions and eight fumbles) and that often costs the Titans at key moments.
Offense
Winner Rashard Mendenhall is an ordinary player and he is holding back the Cardinals. He is averaging 3.1 yards per carry, and that’s not good enough. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has built a great rapport with Palmer and he has caught 67 passes for 774 yards with 10 TDs. Michael Floyd is also a fine big-play maker who has 886 receiving yards and is averaging 15.8 yards per reception.
Winner The Titans have not gotten the kind of year they wanted from Chris Johnson. Instead of approaching 2,000 yards, Johnson has gained 820 yards and is averaging 3.8 yards per carry. If Johnson had been more consistent this year, it would make things much easier for Fitzpatrick. Kendall Wright is a dependable receiver who has caught 73 passes. Delanie Walker (concussion) may be able to return.
Defense
Winner The Cardinals have been surprisingly strong on defense this season as they rank fifth overall and they are third against the run. Middle linebacker Karlos Dansby has a team-high 105 tackles and he also has 6.0 sacks. Outside linebacker John Abraham has been resurgent this year with 11.0 sacks. Rookie Tyrann Mathieu is gone for the year after tearing his ACL and LCL vs. the Rams.
The Titans have been better than expected this year on defense and they rank ninth in passing yards allowed. Strong safety Bernard Pollard is the glue that holds this defense together. He leads the team with 81 tackles and he also has 11 passes defensed and three interceptions. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey leads the team with 9.0 sacks.
Special Teams
Winner The Cardinals are doing a solid job in their punt and kickoff coverage, but they have not gotten a lift this season from Patrick Peterson in the return game. The Cardinals have confidence in placekicker Jay Feely, who has made 22-of-26 FG attempts this season.
The Titans’ coverage teams have done a very good job of keeping their opponents from breaking long plays, but they don’t have any players who appear capable of busting a long return of their own. Rob Bironas has been a dependable placekicker, but he has not had an attempt of 50 yards or longer.

The Winner Is

(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Winner Arizona Cardinals
4 out of 4

The Cardinals seem to be the better team according to stats, but they struggle when they are on the road and the Titans are not going to come after Palmer and try to force him into making mistakes.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks to the media during a press conference Sunset over water
    More Shocking, Bill Belichick Not Aware Of Deflated Footballs Or Sun Setting In West?

    The sun sets in the west every day. But is that more shocking than Bill Belichick claiming ignorance in Deflate-gate?

  2. Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Which Team Has The Super Bowl Edge? New England Patriots Vs. Seattle Seahawks

    The Patriots have managed to outsmart both the Ravens and Colts with trick plays in the postseason, and the Seahawks will have to be on high alert here.

  3. 2012 NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii Richard Dean Anderson who played MacGyver
    Would You Rather Watch The NFL Pro Bowl Or MacGyver Reruns?

    The NFL Pro Bowl is technically still football. But what if there were something better to watch, like “MacGyver” reruns?

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,244 other followers