The Arizona Cardinals enter Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 4-1 record and they currently lead the league in average points scored per game with 38. Needless to say, that’s an impressive average, but while their offense is certainly playing well, their defense needs to get some credit for that scoring average as well.
Of the 190 points that the Cardinals have scored so far this season, 59 have come off of turnovers. That’s a lot of POOTOS and they currently lead the league in that stat by 13 points.
Of the Cardinals 13 takeaways so far this season, 11 of them have come via interceptions and that also serves as the current league-high heading into Week 6.
As for the Steelers and giveaway points so far this season, they have only had 3 of those scored against them through five games and they came against the St. Louis Rams in week 3. Additionally, 23 of their 120 points that they’ve scored so far this season have come off of turnovers.
While turnovers play a huge part in every football game, so too do explosive plays. The Cardinals currently lead the league in that stat as well as they’ve registered 27 of them so far this season. Of their 22 passing explosive plays that they’ve registered so far in 2015, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been on the receiving end of half of them. In fact, the former University of Pittsburgh star currently leads the league in receptions of 20 or more yards.
Surprisingly, the Steelers defense has only given up 12 explosive plays all season and 3 of those were runs. That’s a huge improvement over last season, if you remember.
The Cardinals defense, while good at taking the football away from opponents so far this season, has given up 21 explosive plays though five games. 16 of those have come via the pass.
As you can clearly see by the numbers above, the Cardinals have a positive 12 TOX stat headed into their game against the Steelers, so if Pittsburgh wants to win on Sunday with quarterback Mike Vick under center, they better not give them short fields to work on via turnovers and they better continue to keep explosive plays allowed to a minimum.