Big Red Blog: Another nail biter for Cards?

The Cardinals will enter Sunday's contest coming off their first loss of the year and could be in store for another nail biter of a game against the Bills.

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Another nail bitter?

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, October 12 - 9:30 AM

The Cardinals will enter Sunday's contest against Buffalo coming off their first loss of the year and a few extra days of rest. On paper, this is another winnable game for Arizona but may end up being more difficult than expected.

The Bills have been ineffective of late, particularly on defense where they've allowed an average of 600 yards per game over the past two weeks. Buffalo has given up 97 points in its previous two outings and has been outscored 90-17 in its last six quarters of play.

Meanwhile, Arizona got off to a surprising 4-0 start but took a step back last week against the Rams. The biggest area of concern coming from last week's loss was the inauspicious play of the offensive line. The Cardinals allowed nine sacks in St. Louis and will need to do a much better job of keeping QB Kevin Kolb upright.

Another area that has plagued Arizona this year is an unproductive rushing attack. Things won't be any easier as the Cardinals are down to their third-string running back. Ryan Williams is out for the year and Beanie Wells is out until at least Week 12, leaving the trio of LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith to carry the load. Luckily for the Arizona, the Bills rank 30th in the NFL allowing over 170 yards per game on the ground.

With little to be expected from the Arizona running game, Sunday's outcome will more than likely be determined by Kolb and the passing game. After a slow start WR Larry Fitzgerald appears to be back on track while Andre Roberts has emerged as a legitimate No. 2 wideout. Kolb and company will need to have a big day which is a good possibility given that the Bills are allowing more than 277 yards per game through the air.

On the other side of the ball, Buffalo certainly has a capable offense – especially when Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are healthy at running back. The Bills enter Sunday's matchup with the league's fifth best running game, averaging 144 yards per game – although that number is somewhat skewed due to large outputs earlier this year. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been inconsistent but has the ability to move the ball against a Cardinals pass defense that has been suspect at times.

Although this could be another nail biter of a game that comes down to the wire, look for the turnover battle to be the difference. Arizona has a turnover margin of plus-4 while Buffalo is minus-4 in the turnover battle. The Cardinals' playmaking defense will once again make just enough plays to aid the offense in getting the victory.

Prediction: Arizona 27 Buffalo 20

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