It’s Week 15, and we’re back again with the Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Seth of Revenge of the Birds answers 5 quick questions about the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals:
Is this year the begin of Carson Palmer's decline, or is this simply a "bad year" for the veteran QB? Any chance we see another QB taking charge next year? Tony Romo, perhaps?
I think this was a return to the Carson Palmer averages this year. He is right around his career averages in touchdowns and interceptions this year, but he is a good quarterback who needs a lot of help around him. I think he is also on the decline of his career, in terms of shelf life, as he has one to two days of practice off every week given as “veterans’ days.” He has a limited number of bullets left in the chamber, and it seems like the Arizona Cardinals are making sure those are used on the field.
When it comes to next quarterback, I don't know if they go another veteran route, if they go the youth route or a combination of the two, but I think there is a legitimate interest in what the next step is, post-Palmer.
If the Saints wear kryptonite shoulder pads, will their defense be able to stop David Johnson?
No. You can stop him in the run game based on what Bruce Arians is doing that day, but you cannot stop him completely, as he will continue to be a force in the passing game and is a big play waiting to happen any time he touches the ball. He has been the bright spot on offense, and he has not been held under 100 total yards from scrimmage this season. I would be surprised if it would happen against the Saints.
You want to slow down Johnson in the run game? Score, Arians will happily forgo running the ball, no matter how effective it is, and throw the ball around.
Aside from David Johnson and the ageless Fitz, is there another player, maybe a lesser known player for Saints fans, that you expect to have a good game?
J.J. Nelson is a touchdown machine right now. In his last two games, he has three touches and three touchdowns. He is a bit of a gadget player right now because of his size (he may still not be over 170 lbs), but he has world class speed and the ability to score anytime he touches the ball. Even though those touches may be only one time a game, they are always dangerous.
What about on defense? What player do you expect to give Drew Brees a hard time in the game?
Patrick Peterson is the Cardinals secondary right now. Basically the game plan for every team this season is "Not Patrick Peterson". Look at most games - it works. The Cardinals do a nice job on defense, but are prone to lapses when teams can score on two or three drives in a row. For this season, that is a death knell for the offense.
Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, when on their game, are two of the better edge rushers in the NFL, but being “on their game” the last three weeks doesn't seem to be a way to describe them.
Then you have the ageless Calais Campbell, who has found the Fountain of Youth the second half of the season and has been an unstoppable force. Campbell and Peterson are two you can basically count on to win their matchups - it is the other nine positions where the Cardinals have had consistency issues.
Predictions for the game? Final score?
The Cardinals are using a patch-work offensive line, third-string left tackle and right tackle, and fourth-string right guard, all to go along with a hobbled Mike Iupati and a steady if unspectacular A.Q. Shipley. The Saints have a really nice front line who can get pressure on the quarterback, so if the Cardinals don't protect Palmer, this could be another game that gets away from Arizona that (on paper, at least) they should be able to win.
Defensively, Brees is due, right? Two bad games in a row, and while this game is on the road, it is in a dome, with the Cardinals missing Deone Bucannon and Tyvon Branch, but getting back, hopefully, Tyrann Mathieu.
I think this game is a shootout in the end, and the Cardinals get the advantage because they are at home. Of course I have picked the Cardinals in every game but two this year, so what in the world do I know.
Thank-you, Seth, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Seth and the work his guys are doing over at Revenge of the Birds. You can follow them on Twitter @revengeofbirds. You can follow Seth on Twitter @SCoxFB, and of course you can always follow me @dunnellz.