|2009 Cardinals at Jaguars Point Spread Odds & Matchup Report|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 16 September 2009 12:33|
Jacksonville, FL - Led by Kurt Warner and his bevy of big-play wide receivers, the Arizona Cardinals boasted one of the most feared offenses in the NFL last season.
That offense wasn't much of a threat in the 2009 opener.
Warner and the Cardinals look to get on track Sunday when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, also coming off a disappointing offensive showing in their first game.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BetOnline have made the Jaguars -3 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on the Jaguars -3 (View NFL bet percentages).
Arizona raised its 2008 NFC championship banner before last Sunday's game against San Francisco, but the offense that helped the team reach the Super Bowl was barely on display.
The Cardinals were third in the league in scoring (26.7 points per game) and sixth in total offense (367.7 yards) last year but were limited to 299 yards in a 20-16 loss to the 49ers. Arizona scored 16 points or fewer twice last season - both after it had already captured the NFC West title.
"We're definitely too good to be having these kind of performances," said Larry Fitzgerald, who tied for the league lead with 12 receiving touchdowns last season.
Warner and Fitzgerald were instrumental to the dynamic offense a year ago but were unable to get in sync against a 49ers defense that disrupted the offensive line with several blitzes.
The 39-year-old Warner was under pressure most of the game, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked three times.
"We're just not meshing," said Warner, who was 26 of 44 for 288 yards and one touchdown. "We never seem to get into a rhythm. There always seems to be something to stop us."
With an ineffective Anquan Boldin playing with a sore hamstring, the 49ers were able to double-team Fitzgerald and keep him without a catch until the final seconds of the first half. Fitzgerald finished with six receptions for 71 yards, while Boldin caught one pass for five.
Arizona was also without No. 3 receiver Steve Breaston (knee), but he is expected to return this week.
With the wide receivers being shut down, Warner's chief target came out of the backfield.
Tim Hightower rushed for 15 yards on eight carries but caught a career-high 12 passes for 121 yards - the most receptions by a Cardinals back since Larry Centers had 13 against St. Louis in 1996.
Arizona's offense will try to get things turned around against a Jacksonville team that allowed 365 yards to Indianapolis in Sunday's 14-12 loss.
The Cardinals will be facing a depleted defense that will be without end Reggie Hayward, who broke his left leg in the opener and will miss the rest of the season.
While Arizona's offense didn't do much to resemble last season's Super Bowl team last weekend, the defense limited San Francisco to 203 yards and held Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore to 30 yards on 22 carries.
If their offense struggles again this week, the Cardinals will likely need a similar effort against another top running back to be successful.
Maurice Jones-Drew amassed 1,389 yards from scrimmage a year ago and is the driving force behind the Jaguars' offense. He caught a team-high five passes for 26 yards, rushed 21 times for 97 yards and scored Jacksonville's only touchdown in the opener.
While Jones-Drew had a solid game, the rest of the offense didn't.
David Garrard passed for 122 yards for Jacksonville, which gained 228 yards and scored seven points on two trips into the red zone.
"Twelve points is not enough to win," coach Jack Del Rio said. "We need more production. We must be better across the board."
Turning things around at home might not be so easy.
Last season, the Jaguars went 2-6 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, with Jones-Drew gaining 294 of his 824 rushing yards there.
Fewer people are going to be witnessing games in Jacksonville this year. With 17,000 less season-ticket holders than a year ago, there's a possibility that each home game could be blacked out on local television.
The Jaguars are 2-0 against the Cardinals. These teams haven't met since Jacksonville's 24-17 win in 2005.
Posted: 9/16/09 5:32PM ET