The Sports Xchange

The Cardinals know what their winning formula is going to be this season: play great defense, make a few plays on special teams and be efficient on offense.

They used that formula to upset the Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. And if they can stick to it, especially over the next month, they have a solid chance of being in the race for the NFC West title.

That's heady stuff for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs the last two years and is still searching for a quarterback.

But that's how big last Sunday's victory over the Patriots was. The Cardinals were the only ones who believed they could win. They were 13 1/2-point underdogs, partly because the Patriots rarely lose at home, especially to an NFC team.

The victory, however, was no fluke. The defense gave Tom Brady trouble all day. The offensive line protected quarterback Kevin Kolb well and opened some holes for the running backs.

The Cardinals also blocked a punt that was turned into a touchdown.

And the thing is, Kolb said, the Cardinals were far from perfect.

"The good thing is, is that it was an ugly game," he said. "It wasn't clean for us, either. It wasn't like we played a perfect game. We have a lot to improve on and like I said, if you can get those ugly wins checked off, that's big."

If the Cardinals are mature enough, they are set up to go on a run now. Three of their next four games are at home. And the only road game is at St. Louis.

Kolb likely will remain the start for this week's game against the Eagles, his old team. He missed the game against Philadelphia a year ago because of injury.

But John Skelton is likely to miss at least another week with an ankle injury, and Kolb played well enough in New England to hang on to the job anyway.

His only turnover was a fumble. He didn't have great statistics (14 of 28 for 140 yards and one touchdown), but he did what he was supposed to do. He didn't force the ball, he was content to check down and he avoided mistakes.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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