What needs to improve for the Cardinals over the final 4 games

Following a huge win in overtime over the division rival Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals looked poised to solidify themselves as a Super Bowl contender headed into their bye week. Since then the team has gone 1-4 and is a “Hail Murray” from being 0-5, and is currently out of the playoff picture entirely.

What do the Cardinals need to do to improve and get back on track?

Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

Hopkins has been criminally underutilized most of this season and it is hurting the team. The Cardinals are 4-1 when Hopkins has a touchdown reception. Kliff Kingsbury has been very one-dimensional when it comes to using Hopkins compared to how other coaches use their star WRs. There just simply needs to be more plays focused on getting the football in his hands.

When Murray rushes for less than 40 yards in a game, the Cardinals’ record is 3-11-1. He has a combined 15 carries over the past three games and the team’s record over that span is 0-3. One of Kyler’s biggest strengths and something that makes him terrifying to play week in and week out is his dynamic running ability which defenses have to account for in every play. When he’s not running the football it makes the offense a lot easier to contain.

Better O-line play

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Cardinals offensive line started the season off really well, allowing only six sacks the first three weeks and having the best pass block win rate and second – run block win rate through Week 8. Over the last three weeks, the line has surrendered seven sacks — which isn’t terrible — but they look in disarray and have allowed multiple pressures. They have also had multiple false start and holding penalties, one of which resulted in a safety vs the Seahawks in Week 11, which was a game decided by one possession.

Story continues

Third-down defense must improve

Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first five weeks of the season, the Cardinals had the fourth-best third-down defense in the NFL. However, that ranking didn’t last over the past three weeks, the Cardinals had the fourth-worst third-down defense in the NFL. A big reason for this is defensive coordinator Vance Joseph calling soft zone coverages on third and long, leaving the defense exposed in multiple areas and letting opposing offenses pick up first downs at will.

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Published: 2020-12-13 06:59:17

Tags: #improve #Cardinals #final #games

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