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Opponent Outlook: Washington Travels To Arizona For A Week 2 Showdown With The Cardinals 

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Following a season-opening win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Football Team will head out west to play the Arizona Cardinals. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the matchup:

GAMEDAY INFORMATION:

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 20 | 4:05 p.m. ET

WHERE: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)

WATCH: FOX

  • Dick Stockton (play-by-play)
  • Brady Quinn (color)
  • Sara Walsh (reporter)

LISTEN: The Team 980, ESPN 630 and WMAL 105.9

  • Julie Donaldson (host)
  • Bram Weinstein (play-by-play)
  • DeAngelo Hall (analyst)

The stream will be available at WashingtonFootball.com and on select Washington Football Team social media platforms.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Washington leads the all-time series, 77-46-2.
  • Washington's 125 games against the Cardinals are the third-most of any opponent behind the New York Giants (174) and Philadelphia Eagles (171).
  • Washington's 77 wins against the Cardinals are second-most of any opponent behind the Philadelphia Eagles (85).
  • Washington and the Cardinals have never met in the playoffs.
  • The first meeting between the two franchises occurred Oct. 16,1932. In that game, the then-Chicago Cardinals beat the then-Boston Braves, 9-0.
  • Their most -recent meeting was Sept. 9, 2018, when Washington secured a 24-6 victory. Washington has won 10 of the past 12 meetings between the teams.

COACHING STAFF

Washington:

  • Head coach Ron Rivera (1st season in Washington)
  • Offensive coordinator Scott Turner (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor (2nd)

Arizona:

  • Head coach Kliff Kingsbury (2nd season in Arizona)
  • Pass-game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Clements (2nd)
  • Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph (2nd)
  • Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers (3rd)

KEY NEW FACES

Washington:

  • QB Kyle Allen
  • RBs Peyton Barber / Antonio Gibson / J.D. McKissic
  • TE Logan Thomas
  • OL Saahdiq Charles / Keith Ismael / Cornelius Lucas / Wes Schweitzer
  • DEs Chase Young / James Smith Williams
  • LBs Thomas Davis Sr. / Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • DBs Ronald Darby / Kendall Fuller / Kamren Curl

Arizona:

  • WR DeAndre Hopkins
  • OL Josh Jones
  • DT Jordan Phillips
  • LBs De'Vondre Campbell / Devon Kennard / Isaiah Simmons

BIGGEST STORYLINES

First road test for Ron Rivera -- While Ron Rivera said the team's regular season opener against Philadelphia was a "great measuring stick," he also acknowledged the challenge of traveling across the country to play Arizona in Week 2.

"We follow that up by going to Arizona to see a team that started anew last year," Rivera said after the schedule release in May, "so we'll get a sense of what it takes to get going."

The Cardinals finished last in the NFC West last season with a record of 5-10-1, but Kliff Kingsbury's team has the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in Kyler Murray and a wealth of young talent around him. Add in perennial All-pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins, and this offense will likely be much improved from 2019.

Washington's defense forced eight sacks against the Eagles in Week 1, but facing Murray, who had 321 yards of total offense against the San Francisco 49ers, will be a unique challenge. Trying to stop the Cardinals will be a crucial test for this unit.

Dwayne Haskins Jr. vs. Kyler Murray -- Three quarterbacks were chosen in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft: Murray (No. 1), Daniel Jones (No. 6) and Dwayne Haskins Jr. (No. 15). Of the three, Haskins seems to have the most to prove.

Haskins finished his rookie campaign strong, yet he only started seven games -- both Murray and Jones started at least 12 -- and is learning his third offense in as many seasons dating back to Ohio State. Still, the new coaches sound like they believe in Haskins, and what better way for Haskins to validate that praise than by out-dueling Murray on his home field?

"I'm going to deliver; it's never a question about that," Haskins told reporters in June. "I don't even care about that stuff, honestly. Biggest thing for me is to be prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and what I'm doing. I'm looking forward to being a great leader for this football team this year."

Washington searching for its first 2-0 start since 2011 -- After falling behind, 17-0, Washington scored 27 unanswered points to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles for the first time since 2014. It was also Washington's first season-opening home win since 2011, which is the last time the team started 2-0.

To accomplish that feat, coaches and players know they have to perform better than they did early on against Philadelphia.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

Washington's offense vs. Arizona's defense -- Washington ranked 31st in total offense last season (274.7 yards per game), while Arizona finished last in total defense (402.0 yards allowed), meaning one unit will outperform their 2019 statistics in this matchup

"I don't think the potential on defense is as high as the Cardinals have on offense," said Kyle Odegard, the Cardinals' digital content coordinator/staff writer. "But if the group can improve from 32nd in total defense -- if you can get into the early 20s or middle of the pack -- I think that would be a big help for the team."

It might take longer for Washington to find its rhythm under first-year coordinator Scott Turner. Seeing how the offense operates in this game will be a good indicator of how far it has come since training camp, which began July 28.

Washington's defensive front vs. Kyler Murray -- As previously mentioned, Murray was one of the most-sacked quarterbacks last season. Washington, meanwhile, finished 10th in the league with 46 sacks despite struggling in several other defensive categories.

The defensive front will be even more dangerous this season with Young joining four other former first-round picks, plus reigning sack leader Matt Ioannidis. The unit combined for seven sacks in Washington's season-opening win over Philadelphia.

Washington's secondary vs. Arizona's wide receivers -- Unlike its defensive line, which returns every notable contributor, Washington will have an entirely new starting secondary barring All-Pro safety Landon Collins.

Their potential replacements seem capable of handling increased responsibilities; free agents Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby have all been starters for multiple seasons, while returning cornerback Fabian Moreau is coming off of his best season after finishing 2019 as a starter. Both Moreland and second-year pro Jimmy Moreland corralled interceptions against the Eagles in Week 1.

After a slow start in the season opener, Washington's secondary helped smother the Eagles' defense in a historic come-from-behind victory. They'll have to be just as good Sunday if they want to slow down future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, up-and-comer Christian Kirk and Hopkins, who is currently regarded as one of the best wideouts in the league.

INDIVIDUAL STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Passing -- QB Dwayne Haskins (178 yards); Haskins (1 TD)
  • Rushing -- RB Antonio Gibson (36 yards); RB Peyton Barber (2 TD)
  • Receiving -- WR Terry McLaurin (61 yards); TE Logan Thomas (1 TD)
  • Tackles -- LB Jon Bostic and FS Troy Apke (8)
  • Sacks -- DE Ryan Kerrigan (2)
  • Interceptions -- CBs Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Moreland (1)

Arizona:

  • Passing -- QB Kyler Murray (230 yards); Murray (1 TD)
  • Rushing -- QB Kyler Murray (91 yards); Murray and RB Kenyan Drake (1 TD)
  • Receiving -- WR DeAndre Hopkins; RB Chase Edmonds (1 TD)
  • Tackles -- FS Budda Baker (15)
  • Sacks -- DE Zach Allen, DE Angelo Blackson and OLB Chandler Jones (1)
  • Interceptions -- None

TEAM STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Total offense -- 32th (239.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- T-9th (27.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 28th (159.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- T-21st (3.0)
  • Rushing offense -- 28th (80.0 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 28th (27.8%)
  • Total defense -- 4th (265.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- T-8th (17.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- T-11th (208.0 YPG)
  • Sacks -- 1st (8.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 3rd (57.0 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 10th (35.7%)
  • Time of possession -- 20th (29:21)
  • Turnover differential -- T-1st (+3)

Arizona:

  • Total offense -- T-6th (404.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 15th (24.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- T-17th (224.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- T-13th (2.0)
  • Rushing offense -- 2nd (180.0 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- T-9th (50.0%)
  • Total defense -- 17th (366.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- T-11th (20.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 19th (243.0 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-4th (3.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 17th (123.0 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 1st (18.2%)
  • Time of possession -- 9th (31:26)
  • Turnover differential -- T-19th (-1)

OPPOSING VIEWPOINT

WashingtonFootball.com also spoke with Cardinals digital content coordinator/staff writer Kyle Odegard to gain additional insight about Washington's Week 2 opponent.

Kyler Murray is the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. What is his potential in Year 2?

"The expectations for him are pretty high. He's not shying away from that, and Kliff Kingsbury has talked about it as well. They do expect him to make a pretty big leap in Year 2. We saw a lot of things with him physically in his first season. You can tell he has the tools; he has a really good arm, his speed and athleticism are elite, so there's a lot to work with there. There were times where it did not all completely come together last year, but you could see his potential, clearly, and I do feel like they found a groove late in the season. Their offense was picking up quite a bit, and now you add DeAndre Hopkins to that. I think the offense could be quite a bit better this season, and obviously Kyler Murray is the guy that is leading the way."

How does the addition of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins change the dynamic of the offense?

"I think it will help quite a bit. The last couple of years, their wide receiver core has not been a strength of the team. Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are two solid players, but they didn't have an elite No. 1 wideout and they did not have a bunch of depth. So I think having DeAndre Hopkins as your clear-cut No. 1, it allows everyone to slot in below him into really favorable-type positions.

"And I just feel like for Kyler Murray's growth, just having DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, it's huge to have a guy where you know you can rely on him for six, seven catches a game, 80 yards a game. And even when you're not throwing him the ball, if that means he's getting double-teamed, then obviously Kirk and Fitzgerald have more opportunities. Or if teams are going to watch the pass, the Cardinals did show the ability to run the ball last year -- they set a franchise-record in yards per carry -- so the domino effect of DeAndre Hopkins is going to be big for the offense."

What do you think are three of the biggest storylines for the Cardinals entering this season?

"Kyler Murray clearly has to be No. 1. We've seen what quarterbacks can do in their second year with Patrick Mahomes winning MVP in his second year and then Lamar Jackson doing it. It's obviously a tall task to put any second-year player in the MVP conversation, but Kyler Murray is there, and I feel like he does have the skillset to maybe be involved with that. It's not like I'm saying he's going to win MVP, but I think he's good enough to really take a big leap and be a top 10 quarterback year.

"Kliff Kingsbury's evolution as a coach is the second one. He really figured things out as the season went on. When he entered, everybody was talking about how he was going to go with four wide receivers and throw the ball all around, and the offense really morphed to where it was almost a running team by the end of the season because that was where the team was efficient. I think Kliff Kingsbury showed a willingness to adapt in that situation, and now I'm interested to see with DeAndre Hopkins and you've got some firepower in the passing game, what does that balance look like?

"And then a third one, I think just more big picture, this team was pretty solid from 2013-16. A lot of double-digit wins, they made the NFC Championship game in 2015. They took a step back the last couple of years, and now it feels like there's momentum and expectations are growing. Can they live up to those? Can this team make the leap that a lot of people expect because their roster is a lot better this year than it's been the past couple of years? And now it's a matter of turning that optimism on paper into something tangible on the field."

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