The Washington Football Team will look to improve to 2-0 when it takes on Arizona later this afternoon. Here are three keys to the game against the Cardinals:
1. Keep Kyler Murray in the pocket.
Kyler Murray is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. He excels when he gets out of the pocket, giving him room to run and keep drives alive. In the Cardinals' Week 1 game against the 49ers, Murray rushed for 91 yards and helped lead the Cardinals to a 24-20 win.
Washington will try to limit Murray's rushing yards by keeping him inside the pocket. Last week, Washington's defense had eight sacks against the Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and limited the Eagles to 57 rushing yards. The unit will try to carry that momentum into Week 2 and limit Murray in the open field.
2. Establish the running game.
Washington's offense had a slow start during Week 1; its three running backs managed to rack up 63 rushing yards. It will have an opportunity to bounce back from those numbers against the Cardinals, who allowed 123 rushing yards against the 49ers.
J.D. McKissic, Antonio Gibson, and Peyton Barber only averaged 1.6 yards per carry in Week 1. For this game, they will need to increase that number to help boost the offense. If they can take advantage of Arizona's defense on the ground, it will provide Washington a chance to sustain drives and keep Murray off the field.
3. Putting a stop to DeAndre Hopkins.
In his first game with the Cardinals since being traded by the Houston Texans, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led offense with 14 receptions for 151 yards. Hopkins, who had the third-most receiving yards in Week 1, is going to pose a huge threat to Washington's secondary.
The Cardinals are likely to keep trying to get the ball in Hopkins' hands, so Washington will have to put tight coverage on him. Last week, Washington's secondary had a big showing late in the first half and continued that into the rest of the game. Cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Moreland both had interceptions, elevating the defense's energy. Washington's defense is ranked 8th in the league after having 37 total tackles. Washington held Wentz to a league-worst QBR of 14.2.
If the secondary can repeat last week's performance, it have a strong chance of stopping Hopkins.