Big Red Blog: Jekyll and Hyde year for Cards

The Arizona Cardinals' Jekyll and Hyde season continues this week and an upset win against the Atlanta Falcons would be fitting.

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Jekyll and Hyde year for Cards

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, November 13 - 9:45 AM

The Arizona Cardinals' 2012 campaign has been a Jekyll and Hyde affair.

Through the first four games of the year, everything was going the Cardinals' way. QB Kevin Kolb was guiding a serviceable offense while the team's defense and special teams was making play after play. Then, however, Week 5 came and it's been all downhill for Arizona.

Now, entering Week 11 in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Cardinals will travel to battle the 8-1 Atlanta Falcons. It's hard to tell whether the timing of this matchup will help or hurt Arizona. The Falcons were the NFL's last remaining undefeated team until the New Orleans Saints knocked them off this past weekend.

Despite the loss, Atlanta is still one of the most balanced teams in the league and has plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Matt Ryan is having an MVP-caliber season and wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones are difficult for anyone to defend on the perimeter. Meanwhile, TE Tony Gonzalez continues to defy the rules of aging and is having one of the best seasons of his career.

The Cardinals will have the benefit of resting up during the bye week and should be ready to go come Sunday in Atlanta. Kolb is still recovering from a rib injury and is expected to be out until late November but John Skelton may have gained the most from the extra time off – giving him more time to prepare as the starter.

Atlanta has been extremely consistent this year but far from dominant – particularly on its home turf. The Falcons are 4-0 at the Georgia Dome but have prevailed in those four outings by a combined 17 points.

Atlanta was fortunate to pull out late wins against the Carolina Panthers (30-28 in Week 4) and the Oakland Raiders (23-20 in Week 6). Furthermore, they barely managed to hold off a furious comeback by the Denver Broncos (27-21 in Week 2) and squeaked by against the Dallas Cowboys (19-13 in Week 9).

The bottom line is that the Falcons are beatable at home and Arizona has already proved it can win a big game on the road. While the experts will certainly expect Atlanta to win, it has the makings of a close, grind-it-out ballgame that could come down to the wire.

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