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Friday Five: Cardinals At Bills

A look at some of the top storylines for Sunday's game


A glance at the top storylines for the Cardinals-Bills game Sunday at New Era Stadium in Buffalo:

**Score early, you know, for the fans

The Bills aren't in the best place. The normally boisterous Rex Ryan sounds a little down, they have lost their first two games, they fired the offensive coordinator after just two games. There has been a lot of talk about Ryan losing his job as well. The fans are on edge. If the Cardinals can get into Buffalo – even with the 10 a.m. Arizona time start – and score quickly with a couple of defensive stops, the crowd at New Era Stadium could get restless.

A second helping of Coop

Bruce Arians insists the second cornerback slot will continue to be shared by reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week Marcus Cooper and rookie Brandon Williams. The Cards still want Williams to learn the position as they go, but Cooper's nice debut last week will make it hard not to have him on the field. Veteran players tend to make veteran plays, and even aside from the two interceptions, Cooper's coverage in man-to-man helped the Cards' defense get back to the way it likes to play.

After Fitz kills Bills, can Fitz kill Bills?

The last time the Bills played, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick lit them up for 374 yards passing. Buffalo's defense can be attacked through the air. The Cardinals wouldn't mind getting their Fitz – wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald – in on that action. Fitzgerald is off to a great start, with three touchdowns in two games as the team's leading receiver. Quarterback Carson Palmer played well against Tampa Bay. The question is whether Michael Floyd and/or John "Smokey" Brown can shake off slow starts to the season and emerge against a reeling secondary?

Tracking down Tyrod

The Cardinals know what it's like to play Russell Wilson, and Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is Wilson-lite, a smaller QB who is athletic and can run but who uses that ability to buy time to throw downfield. The Bills have come up with some big plays this season with Taylor's arm. The Cardinals are still trying to find consistent pressure on the quarterback. But they have to stay disciplined too, and not let Taylor sneak out of the pocket and suddenly have room to run, especially if the defense is playing man-to-man and running with the wideouts down the field, back to the ball.

Keep special teams on the uptick

The Cardinals were better on special teams last week. Drew Butler punted well and the kickoff returns didn't hurt (because Andre Ellington was downing the ball regardless, it seemed) and Justin Bethel started making the plays everyone expects. At the same time, kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point and long snapper Kam Canaday remains "erratic," Arians said. The Cards need special teams to settle into a groove. Kicking in Buffalo can be an adventure with the weather, although it's supposed to be clear and not windy. 

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