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.
- Arizona Cardinals: Wins meaningless without playoffs
- Carson Palmer needs a left tackle for Christmas, ESPN's Jaworski says
- Cardinals offensive tackle Eric Winston: Playing meaningful games 'is what it's all about'
- Jaws: Dansby playing with a chip on his shoulder
- Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals practice - Dec. 12
- Dave Pasch, Cardinals radio announcer - Friday December 13Pasch gives his thoughts on this weekend's Cardinals game against the Titans.
- Wolf's Film Room - Friday December 13Go inside the Film Room with Wolf to analyze the Cardinals-Titans matchup.
- Wolf's 5 Star NFL Game - Friday December 13What is the must-see NFL game of the weekend?
- John Clayton, ESPN NFL Insider - Friday December 13Does Shanahan want out of DC? Will Rodgers play again this season? Can the Patriots survive without
- Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL Analyst - Thursday December 12The Cardinals are in the playoff race.