Updated Nov 15, 2012 - 10:40 pm
Kerry Rhodes: Matt Ryan is 'playing at an MVP level' this season
Sunday, they are set to face Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Although the four-year pro might not be considered among the elite passers in the league today with the likes of Brady, Rodgers and the Manning brothers, his numbers so far this season have been staggering.
Through nine games, Ryan has thrown for 2,771 yards (second-best in the NFL) and 20 touchdowns (fourth-best in the NFL). He is also completing 68.4 percent of his passes and has a quarterback rating of 102.6 (fourth-best in the NFL).
After watching film of the former Boston College star over the past few days, the Cardinals are certainly not taking Ryan lightly.
"Matt Ryan is playing at an MVP level right now," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "We know that Atlanta likes to jump out early on teams at home, and they are an explosive team. For us, we have to be on our A-game from the beginning."
Ryan -- who is coming off a season-high 411 passing yards in a loss to the New Orleans Saints -- has only turned the ball over eight times this season, but in order for Arizona's defense to get comfortable inside the Georgia Dome, Rhodes believes they need to make him uncomfortable by forcing a big play sooner rather than later in the contest.
"If we can play well from the beginning, and the defense can force a three-and-out or a turnover, our offense can go down and score points early," said Rhodes. "From that point on, we'll roll pretty much."
While Rhodes' best laid plans seem simple enough, in their four wins this season, however, the Cardinals have only forced two first quarter turnovers.
On the flip side, in two career starts against Arizona, Ryan has thrown for 424 yards to go along with five touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Cardinals receive 'B' offseason grade from USA Today
- NFL.com's Rosenthal: Calais Campbell among NFL's most underrated players
- Arizona Cardinals' Andre Ellington tops ESPN list of breakout candidates
- Ron Jaworski: Arizona Cardinals' Carson Palmer 20th-best QB in NFL
- NFL.com writers: Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald 'primed to regress in 2014'
- Dr. Cynthia Arnson - Immigration and Central America Expert - Tuesday July 22Why are we seeing this influx of immigrant minors?
- Mike Sando, ESPN NFL insider - Tuesday July 22ESPN NFL insider Mike Sando gives updates from around the NFC West as teams head into training camp.
- Lorenzo Alexander, AZ Cardinals linebacker - Friday July 18Cardinals linebacker Lorenzo Alexander talks about team expectations for 2014.
- John McClain, Houston Chronicle sportswriter - Friday July 11Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain talks about the Rockets’ offseason.
- Steve Keim, AZ Cardinals GM - Friday June 20Keim discusses his players progress so far and his anticipation of future signings.