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NFL Week 7, Arizona Cardinals: Defense stepping up as offense struggles

The Cardinals have relied heavily on their defense to keep them in games this season.

Christian Petersen

The Arizona Cardinals have surpassed any expectations the experts had for them at the start of the season. Armed with a stout defense and capable offense, Arizona has begun the year with a 4-2 record. And while the players on the offensive side of the ball have struggled to stay healthy, the defense has been the one constant throughout the year.

As this story from the Washington Post explains, the Cardinals are the only team in the NFL to not give up to more than 21 points to any opponent. That's quite impressive given where the unit was a couple of seasons ago, according to defensive coordinator Ray Horton:

"Really that's probably the only stat that should be measured because you can skew them by yards because when you're ahead by 42 points or whatever the case may be, it's not really a justification of what is the best defense. Obviously, the deal is whether you score more points or less points than they do."

As long as the defense continues to play well, the Cardinals will have a chance every time they take the field. It will be interesting to see how the unit fares in hostile territory against the Vikings this weekend. Adrian Peterson is still one of the better running backs around, and young quarterback Christian Ponder has taken a big step forward in the second season of his career. If Arizona isn't careful, their points streak could be in jeopardy in Week 7.