The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.:
Enough Is Enough, Because It Isn't Enough
A three-game offensive slide is really enough. The Cardinals were sailing along, averaging more than 400 yards a game, coming up with 30 points even with some hiccups on that side of the ball. Lately, that's been lost. Shrinking yardage totals, shrinking point totals (yes, the Cards got 28 last game, but seven game when it was too late.) The Giants have been playing well on defense during a four-game winning streak that has taken this team from looking at the potential No. 1 overall pick to a possible NFC East title. Can the Cards find a way back up, so they too can make a playoff push? The running game has been stumped, keeping Kyler Murray and everyone else in check. DeAndre Hopkins hasn't been as impactful. There have been too many three-and-outs. The Cards depend on the offense to make things go. It feels like a now-or-never moment.
A Golden Chance At Revenge
Just a few weeks ago, Markus Golden was playing for the Giants. Now he's playing against them, a key part of the defense, and you know he'd like to have a big game (not that Golden isn't always amped to have a big game). OK, maybe revenge is too strong of a word, given that Golden was psyched to return to the Cards. But more importantly, Golden is part of a pass rush group that has to start making things happen. Over the past five games, in which the Cards have lost four, the Cardinals have allowed nine more points a game than in the first seven games of the season. Daniel Jones, who figures to be back in the lineup for the Giants, is prone to turnovers and taking sacks, like the Cardinals did to him last season in New York. But in that game Chandler Jones (4 sacks) was a beast, and he's gone now. Golden, or someone else, needs to step in.
The Return Of Fitz
Larry Fitzgerald is going to have his worst statistical season, and he was going to even before missing two games with COVID. His role in the offense has lessened. But it is perhaps no shock that the two challenged offensive games the past two weeks have come in Fitz's absence. His presence still means something, both making key first-down catches and what he brings to the team in the locker room. He doesn't necessarily have to go 8-111-1 to have an impact. Having him back for this road trip will help. And maybe the Cardinals can get him his first TD of the season too.