It has been a disappointing season for both teams; moreso for Arizona as they are the Super Bowl hosts this season and would have loved nothing more than to represent the NFC at home early next year. Injuries have plagued both teams, not to mention the entire league this season, resulting in subpar records.
The last time Kurt Warner started against Cincinnati, he posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3; but that was in 1999 when he was still a “relatively young “QB.
The Bengals currently hold the series record, 5-3, as well as winning the last 3 consecutive matchups.
Cincinnati’s offense is often compared to Detroit’s, utilizing their passing game moreso than the run; however, Detroit was held in check on both sides of the ball; with the Cards’ DST holding the Lions to an impressive -18 yards rushing. Bengals’ RB Rudi Johnson has been inconsistent this season, due in part to injuries, only ranking 42nd in the league in yardage and only one TD thus far.
Carson Palmer is currently 4th in passing yards and 9th in passer rating with 16 TDs and 10 INTs this season; however, during last week’s rout of Baltimore, the Bengals offense did not score for the first time this year; it was K Shane Graham who accounted for all of Cinci’s 21 points.
Despite losing several veteran defensive starters, Arizona must stop the Bengal’s air game to have a shot at winning; particularly with the return of WR Chris Henry, giving Palmer 3 deep threats.
Warner’s presence in the pocket does lend an air of leadership to this team, and, despite his injury, he should be quite productive against a Bengals’ defense who tends to give up the long ball. The Cards need to be patient and force Carson Palmer into a one-dimensional passing attack, and let the young stars from last week’s victory against Detroit do their thing!