The Cardinals could be lucky for getting the Cowboys at this point in the season, or it could be a nightmare. That is what makes this game so intriguing. Until we see it on Monday, anything could plausibly happen. 

Which defense will show up in University of Phoenix stadium on Monday night? Can the Cardinals begin to find some identity on offense? Will the Cowboys be able to run the ball?
This Cardinals vs Cowboys game has the potential to be any and every type of game.

Dallas is Soft?

In week 1, the Cowboys gave up 3 points to the Giants, and then 42 in week 2. The Cowboys are coming off of a 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Ezekiel Elliott was a non-factor, and the duo of Trevor Siemian and  C.J. Anderson looked like Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk. They are undoubtedly upset, and will be itching to get back on the football field. The Cowboys are a scary team, but they are also young. If they show up to play, the Cardinals may be in for a fight. We will have to see on Monday if this Cowboys team is hungry, or just simply in a funk.
As an optimistic Cardinals fan, you can look at the 4th quarter of the Colts game, and feel good. The team scored 10 points, and they looked much more explosive. This could be a result of a tired Colts defense, but it could mean that the offense is starting to click. If that’s the case, the Cardinals have every chance in the world to win this game. However, if that 4th quarter was a fluke, and their offense resembles one that is stuck on 3 points for 3 quarters, then Monday night could get ugly.

Cardinals Gameplan

The key to the game for Palmer and the offense will be to throw the ball to the running backs. Sean Lee is an excellent linebacker for the Cowboys, but I still like the match-up of Ellington and Chris Johnson in the open field. If the Cardinals can run the ball, and throw to the backs, they can eventually open the game up for Palmer and the receivers. I’m looking for a big game from Andre Ellington specifically, and all of that time on the sideline watching David Johnson means fresh legs for the 28 year old.

On the defensive side of the ball, the focus must remain on Ezekiel Elliott. In the games the Cowboys have lost the last two seasons, Elliott averaged just over 55 yards rushing. The Broncos most recently proved that when the Cowboys can only throw the ball, they are much less threatening. I hope Peterson trails Dez all day, while the rest of the Cardinals hone in on Elliott, Witten, and Prescott’s legs. It’s a tall task to ask any defense to guard this offensive juggernaut for 60 minutes.

Big Game Implications

If the Cardinals can rise to the challenge however, this can be a game that propels the team for the rest of the season. If they crumble in the big moment, it can be equally demoralizing. Watch it for the now, because this team’s season can be in trouble starting Monday, or this could be the beginning of a special run. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Aaron is a writer for the Arizona Cardinals, trying to make the team accessible for the fans and analysis. Aaron graduated with a BS in Economics from ASU in 2017. When not working, Aaron enjoys playing guitar, drums, and playing sports as much as watching them.