Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Over the last two weeks, the Arizona Cardinals' run game (32 carries, 73 yards, 0 TD) and the Buffalo Bills' run defense (78 carries, 558 yards, 7 TD) have been pitiful. What happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object?
In their last two games, the Buffalo Bills have allowed their opponents (New England and San Francisco) to accumulate 558 rushing yards and seven (7!) touchdowns at an incredible 7.2 yards per carry. In that same time frame - two full football games against Miami and St. Louis - the Arizona Cardinals have gained 73 rushing yards and zero touchdowns at 2.3 yards per carry.
When the Bills and the Cardinals square off this Sunday in Arizona, we'll be witnessing a matchup between a stoppable force and a movable object. That's a statement that's usually used as a joke in a situation pitting two bad teams or units against each other; rarely is it so depressingly applicable.
Arizona's running game is reeling; not only have they struggled to move the ball on the ground, but their top two backs entering the season, Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, have both landed on Injured Reserve with season-ending injuries. That means that the Cardinals will be featuring the little-known William Powell as the lead back on Sunday, though if healthy, La'Rod Stephens-Howling is likely to get some work, as well.
Of course, as WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia pointed out yesterday, the Bills have been gashed by little-known utility backs in the past; Deji Karim, of all people, ripped off 4.7 yards per carry with Jacksonville against the Bills in 2010, and do we really need to mention the name 'Willie Parker' to Bills fans?
Buffalo, too, is reeling defensively. Their run defense has looked worse, frankly, than the 2010 team that allowed opponents to run for 170 yards per game; aided by two of the most horrendous defensive performances in a row you're ever likely to witness, the Bills are giving up 172 yards per game on the ground - and that's even after holding Cleveland to a paltry 33 rushing yards in Week 3.
Injuries are hurting the Bills, too. The team may only be able to dress six healthy defensive linemen on Sunday - three ends and three tackles - thanks to injuries likely to prevent Mark Anderson and Spencer Johnson from suiting up. Behind that banged up line, the Bills are contemplating making a change at the starting strong-side linebacker position.
You can bet that both the Bills and the Cardinals are viewing the other as an opportunity to "get right" in the run game department. There's no way that Arizona won't be able to run on Buffalo, right? Buffalo can't not shut down Arizona's run game, correct? The answer to that question will be a monumentally important factor in the outcome of Sunday's Week 6 game.