Over the past two seasons, the Arizona Cardinals have been able to field a stable unit under defensive coordinator Vance Joesph.
They ranked 11th in yards and points allowed last season, forcing the 7th most turnovers in the NFL.
That same defense wasn’t going to be the same this season after losing key talent like linebacker Jordan Hicks and new Las Vegas Raiders passing thrower Chandler Jones.
Even taking this into account, Cardinals fans probably didn’t think their defense would be crushed by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.
There aren’t many better ways to put it after the Cardinals allowed the Chiefs to rack up 44 points and 488 total yards on offense.
Whether in the air or on the ground, the Chiefs got just about everything they wanted for the entire game.
For the Cardinals, when you can’t rush the passer or stop the run, those are the results you’re going to live with more often than not.
Against the Raiders, they won’t have any kind of respite with the weapons that the silvers and blacks have.
They could find more success with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr if the Raiders offensive line doesn’t improve after their first-week struggles.
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Defensive end Zach Allen and outside linebacker Markus Golden will both be tasked with providing that pressure.
Having former Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt available would add a welcome addition, but after missing Week 1 with a calf injury, he’s not a safe bet to play.
At linebacker, young players Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins provide an athletic advantage but have proven exploitable, especially in coverage.
In the secondary, former Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen could be in line to make his Cardinals debut alongside Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker.
None of that matters if the Cardinals can’t bounce back from the effort they showed last week.
Especially with the game taking place in Las Vegas, it’s a recipe for the Raiders to have their first explosive offensive showing of this young 2022 NFL season.
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