During the season, Bent's Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets' upcoming opponents, enabling a breakdown of what to watch out for on gameday…
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The last time these two teams met in 2012, the Jets won a remarkable game 7-6, as Greg McElroy, came off the bench for the benched Mark Sanchez to throw a game-winning touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland. The Cardinals have undergone a transformation since that game, reaching the NFC championship game last season. So far this year, things haven't gone to plan, though, as they lie third in the NFC West after losing three of their first four games, two of those coming against AFC opponents. They bounced back last week with a 33-21 win over the 49ers on Thursday night and, with the long week to prepare, enter tomorrow's game as a 7.5 point favorite.
After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) for the Cardinals and highlight what to watch out for.
Carson Palmer has been the driving force behind the Cardinals' recent success, but doubts are resurfacing about his abilities in big games after he struggled during last season's postseason exit to the Panthers. He's ironically close friends with Jets' starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, who faced the same questions after failing to clinch a playoff berth in the season finale last year.
Like Fitzpatrick, Palmer has struggled to quiet the doubters with his performances so far this year, especially against the Bills when he threw four interceptions and was sacked five times. He then suffered a concussion in the next game and watched from the side lines as Drew Stanton led the team to the win over San Francisco.
Palmer makes his return tomorrow, hoping to improve his downfield passing in particular as he's underthrown a lot of deep balls so far this season. If he struggles again, it will be interesting to see how short his leash is with Stanton coming off a winning performance, albeit one where he completed less than 40% of his passes for his third appearance in a row.
Stanton has history with the Jets, who signed him in 2012 only to trade him away for a conditional pick when they traded for Tim Tebow one week later.
The Cardinals have put together a nice offensive line with a solid core of experienced veterans and a couple of youngsters with good potential.
Last year's first-round pick, DJ Humphries, was a healthy scratch all year as a rookie, but has found his way into the starting line-up at right tackle this year. While he surrendered four sacks in the first four games, he held up much better against the 49ers and did an excellent job in the running game.
The plan was for Humphries to work with four veterans. Center AQ Shipley, left tackle Jared Veldheer and guards Mike Iupati and Evan Mathis have 299 combined starts. Mathis was recently placed on injured reserve though and his replacement - Earl Watford - is definitely a downgrade. In addition, Iupati has been dealing with an ankle injury and is a gameday decision for tomorrow.
Iupati is a big and physical run blocker who has had some issues in pass protection in recent years, but has held up quite well so far this year. Veldheer has developed into a consistent blind side pass protector and Shipley is an experienced anchor.
If Iupati is unable to play, then the line will take on a different look with Watford starting along with John Wetzel at the two guard spots, which will put extra pressure on Shipley at center. Despite being in his fourth season and with his fourth team Wetzel didn't make his NFL debut until last month but filled in quite well for Iupati last week when he went down.
Rookie Evan Boehm is one of the back-up options and the Cardinals also just added youngster Ulrick John.
Despite Palmer's struggles, the running game has still been productive with emerging star David Johnson well on the way to a thousand-yard season. Johnson has 457 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, including 157 and two scores in the last game against the 49ers. Johnson is also dangerous in the passing game. He caught 51 passes last year and is on about the same pace this season.
Former Jet Chris Johnson was serving as the back-up, but just landed on injured reserve himself, so Andre Ellington will fill that role.
The Cardinals don't use a full back, preferring to run out of two-tight end sets.
Veteran Larry Fitzgerald turned back the clock last year to catch over 100 passes and put together his first thousand-yard season since 2011. This year, he's been extremely consistent with at least five catches and 60 yards in all five games, but no 100-yard games. Fitzgerald is more of a possession receiver these days, but can get downfield once in a while and is still one of the best blocking wide receivers in the NFL. He still does a lot of damage from the slot.
In the past, Michael Floyd has been the downfield threat to complement Fitzgerald but he's off to a slow start this year. The Browns, John and Jaron, will also see plenty of playing time. Jaron offers good size, but John has been the more productive player. He had over 1,100 receiving yards last year, if you include the postseason.
The Cardinals haven't had much production out of their tight ends yet and the biggest name, Jermaine Gresham, has been uncharacteristically struggling as a blocker. Darren Fells is the main back-up, but rookie Hakeem Valles recently made his first career start.
The Cardinals' defensive line still includes several players Todd Bowles worked with when he was the defensive coordinator a few seasons ago, led by Calais Campbell who is still their most disruptive player against the run and as a pass rusher.
Veteran Frostee Rucker starts at the other end position in the Cardinals' 3-4 system. The Cardinals looked to bolster their depth when they drafted Robert Nkemdiche in the first round, but he's been unable to earn much playing time so far after a high ankle strain slowed down his progress in the offseason. Josh Mauro and Ed Stinson have been getting reps ahead of him, but Stinson has an injured toe and will not play, so this might turn out to be Nkemdiche's first chance to make any meaningful contributions.
The Cardinals signed Corey Peters from Atlanta to be their nose tackle last season, but he missed the entire year with a torn Achilles. However, he's healthy now and is fitting in well. That has allowed Rodney Gunter, who started 12 games at nose tackle as a rookie last year, to move back into a rotational role.
The Cardinals have an interesting group of linebackers led by young pass rusher Markus Golden who is in the midst of a break-out season. Golden's six sacks are among the league leaders. He had four in total during his rookie year.
Across from Golden is another familiar face in former Patriot Chandler Jones. In six career games against the Jets, Jones has only been on the losing side once and has racked up six sacks.
On the inside, Deone Bucannon, a converted safety, has become one of the leading lights in the recent trend for smaller, more athletic linebackers, an experiment that began under Bowles. He is paired with a bigger player in the shape of 246-pounder Kevin Minter.
Much of the time, all four starters play three downs, but Alex Okafor has also seen time as a situational rusher.
Cover corner Patrick Peterson is the highest-paid player in the Cardinals' secondary, but the versatility of Tyrann Mathieu in his hybrid safety/cornerback role is equally crucial to the team's success.
Marcus Cooper has good size and length at the other corner position with rookie Brandon Williams and veterans Tharold Simon and Justin Bethel available as cover off the bench. Simon and Bethel have played just five snaps between them all season though, as Bethel has been dealing with an injured foot. Williams started the first two games but hasn't played on defense since. Another veteran, Tyvon Branch, had been the primary nickel, but he's now on injured reserve.
Tony Jefferson is the other starter at safety and has been solid against the run, leading the team in tackles. DJ Swearinger provides cover, but the versatility of Mathieu and Bucannon means they have plenty of alternatives.
Another familiar face handles punting duties for the Cardinals, as former Jet Ryan Quigley was signed recently and will be making his third appearance for them tomorrow. He'll also be holding for Chandler Catanzaro who has made every field goal this year apart from the one which would have beaten the Patriots on opening day.
Ellington had been handling kick-off return duties, but recently activated Brittan Golden is expected to take on that role soon. John Brown has been returning punts but Golden has experience of doing that too. It's a departure from last year, where two key starters - Johnson and Peterson - had the primary return roles.
Finally, Bethel - when healthy - is one of the best gunners around and usually among the leaders for special teams tackles.
I'll be back on Tuesday to recap the game.
Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.