The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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1st and 10: Cardinals Win, Bring on the Packers

1st: Injuries are the only thing that can derail this Cardinals offense

  • Forget about the Ravens, Bengals, Bills, Cowboys or Buccaneers; the Cardinals offense is the most explosive in the NFL. The Cardinals fell asleep at the wheel through 1.5 quarters on Sunday, woke up, found 3rd gear and put up 30+ points still half asleep. Rondale Moore is barely being used downfield, Zach Ertz sounds like a pound dog that's been adopted by a loving home with acreage and DeAndre Hopkins barely broke a sweat. The only thing that can derail this machine are injuries. More specifically, an injury to Kyler Murray. The Texans beat up Kyler as well as any team in his career but Kyler got back up and kept dealing. The Cardinals are 7-0 and the lone undefeated team in the league but until the playoffs being their biggest opponent is the injury bug.

And 10:

1. The NFL narrative machine is still largely skipping Cardinals.

  • Its still crazy to me that the league wide narrative still keeps skipping the Cardinals. Two weeks ago it was the Bills, last week it was the Ravens and now this week its the Bengals. This team is dominating on both sides of the ball and doing most of their damage with one of the best QB’s in the league. This isn’t Sam Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater leading their respective teams to a cute start; its Kyler evolving into the most dangerous QB in the league in front of our eyes and some people keeping them shut.

2. Right now, the offensive line is the only serious concern for the Cardinals.

  • Max Garcia and Josh Jones are the splash of cold water ahead of Thursday night’s epic showdown with the Packers. Garcia is a lock to flub a handful of snaps a game and Jones is about to become the most targeted weakness on the Cardinals roster. Once Rodney Hudson returns, the OLine should snap back to a strength but right now it feels like a potential weakness against the Packers.

3. Which quarterback would you say right now gives his team the biggest advantage: Kyler Murray or Aaron Rodgers?

  • Right now, I’d call this matchup at worst for the Cardinals a wash. Rodgers has 12 touchdowns and just one interception since the opening week embarrassment to the Saints. Meanwhile Kyler is the betting favorite for MVP through nearly half the season. If Kyler’s on the field, the Cardinals have a chance and that’s still true Thursday night against one of the all time greats.

4. Should the Cardinals make another move before next Tuesday's trade deadline?

  • I’ll continue to bang the drum for another body in the cornerback room. These dudes are balling but I worry about a rookie wall for Marco Wilson. If you’ve come this far, you might as well go all all in.

5. Arizona's wide receivers are significantly better than the Green Bay Packers group.

  • There’s really no comparison between the two quarterbacks supporting casts on Thursday night. The depth of the Cardinals receivers dwarfs the Packers, especially once we all agree Davante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins cancel each other out. AJ Green, Christian Kirk, Zach Ertz and Rondale Moore would all immediately become the second best receiving option on the Packers. If the Cardinals are going to win Thursday night, its going to be because they have acquired more dudes in the last 18 months for Kyler Murray than the Packers ever have for Aaron Rodgers.

6. The Cardinals rushing duo is working out perfectly.

  • The Cardinals rushing offense currently ranks 5th in the NFL, impressive territory for a team with most of its resources invested in receivers. The Chase Edmonds/James Conner duo is clicking in ways Edmonds/Kenyan Drake never did. Credit to Kliff Kingsbury and his staff for seemingly always calling the right number for each back, deploying his backfield perfectly.

7. The Cardinals defensive numbers are eye-popping.

  • After shutting out the Texans in the second half, the Cardinals maintain their position as the #1 defense in terms of points allowed per game. Everything is working on Vance Joseph’s side of the ball through seven weeks.

8. What will the fan breakdown be for the Cardinals primetime debut?

  • The most concerning number Thursday night might be the percentage of Packers fans who invade State Farm Stadium. Would you take a 60/40 pro-Cardinals fans split right now? Will an undefeated start and a prime time game make it closer to 80-20?

9. Under the Radar Stars:

  • Jordan Phillips, Kelvin Beachum, James Conner, Matt Prater and Jalen Thompson.

10. What's next? vs. Green Bay on Thursday night.

  • We've been talking about this game for nearly two weeks, for good reason. Its an unprecedented Thursday Night Football matchup between two teams with a combined record of 13-1. My first reaction: Cardinals win and cover the -3.5. Let's get to Thursday and find out.

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