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The Importance Of Field Position

The Cardinals' defense has played excellent of late, but the scoring numbers don't totally reflect that because of variables outside of its control.

The Cardinals have flexed their muscle on defense the past several weeks, and now rank among the better groups in football, despite a points-allowed figure (24.4) that is still among the worst in the league.

The defense is only allowing 5.0 yards per play following Sunday's shutdown performance of the Titans, which is fifth-best in the NFL and tends to be a better barometer of future success than scoring defense.

It's better to trust yards per play than points allowed because it strips out variables that can help some defenses and hurt others. For instance, the Cardinals have been impressive defending long fields in the past three games, allowing only one touchdown – a 75-yard drive by the Jaguars –that started in the opponent's territory.

But the team has given up six subsequent touchdowns, which doesn't accurately reflect the job the defense has done.

The Jaguars scored a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery and another on a drive that began at the Arizona 38. The Rams' three touchdowns came on a drive that started at the Arizona 23, on a pick-six, and on a drive that began at the Arizona 30. Tennessee's lone score came on a drive that began at the 50.

The Cardinals didn't turn the ball over against the Titans, and simply flipping the field position with punts allowed the defense to get to work.

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