In a league defined by close games — there were eight in Week 1 decided by one score — the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants provided classic examples in 2022.
The Giants were 8-4-1 in one-score games and finished with a 9-7-1 record last season. They qualified for the playoffs and saw Brian Daboll in his first season be named NFL Coach of the Year.
The Cardinals sustained a debilitating stretch of injuries and were 2-6 in one-score games in 2022. That resulted in a 4-13 record and the firing of head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Coming off a 40-0 home shellacking by the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, the Giants travel to Glendale, Ariz., to play a Cardinals team with first-time head coach Jonathan Gannon and coordinators Drew Petzing (offense) and Nick Rallis (defense). Petzing and Rallis are in those roles for the first time in their respective NFL coaching careers.
Rallis’ group played better than expected in Week 1, but the offense managed only 210 yards in a 20-16 road loss to the Washington Commanders.
Daboll obviously expects his team to rebound after its demoralizing loss.
“It’s a humbling league and one week doesn’t have much effect on the next week,” Daboll said. “Your preparation, your performance ultimately on Sunday, or whenever that day is, does. That’s what we will focus on; a lot to learn. We’ll do our best to teach it, to learn from it, to go out there and have a good week of practice and to get ready for the next week’s opponent.”
The Giants had three turnovers, were 5-for-16 on third down and scored no points on two trips to the red zone. They were pushed back from the 8-yard line to the 27 on the first possession of the game, and a 45-yard field-goal attempt by Graham Gano was blocked and returned 58 yards for a touchdown.
Things only got worse after that as quarterback Daniel Jones was 15-for-28 for 104 yards, was sacked seven times and had a passer rating of 32.4.
Meanwhile, projected by many as the worst team in the league, the Cardinals led 16-10 in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs, however, lost two fumbles — one on a sack and one on a botched center exchange — which the Commanders turned into 10 points and the narrow 20-16 victory.
Dobbs was making the third start of his career and was acquired by the Cardinals in a trade only 17 days before the opener. The offense struggled against Washington, going 4-for-14 on third downs and mustering just 210 total yards.
The Cardinals also failed to score touchdowns on two red-zone trips, but at least came away with two of their three field goals. Their lone touchdown was on a fumble return following a strip-sack.
Dobbs believes things will go more smoothly in Week 2.
“I think a huge jump is in store,” he said. “Just getting out there, getting in the flow of a game, getting in the flow with the guys and the rhythm. Timing and rhythm in the games is always different than practice sometimes. Just getting out there to play ball can definitely (provide) a huge jump and I expect to make a huge jump, especially situationally.”
Since winning at home on Oct. 24, 2021, against the Houston Texans, the Cardinals have won only one of their last 13 home games, a victory over the New Orleans Saints last season on Oct. 20. Four of their seven home losses last season were by three points or fewer.
New York left tackle Andrew Thomas played only 53 of 70 snaps in Week 1 because of a hamstring injury. He joined tight end Darren Waller (hamstring/rest) in failing to participate in practice on Wednesday.
The Giants also are starting rookie second-round center John Michael Schmitz Jr.
Arizona edge rusher Dennis Gardeck had two of the team’s six sacks against the Commanders.
Cardinals defensive lineman L.J. Collier (biceps) and linebacker Josh Woods (ankle) did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media
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