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Five Questions With: Revenge of the Birds - Previewing Bears vs Cardinals

We chatted with Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds about the upcoming Bears- Cardinals game.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have another tough test this week, playing their second consecutive top-10 opponent in front of the home crowd at Soldier Field.  Last week, the Bears lost a valiant effort to the Green Bay Packers, and this week's opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, beat up the New Orleans Saints.

The Cards are tough, and have responded well since Bruce Arians took over at head coach in 2013.  The same guy that interviewed for the Chicago Bears on 2013 and thought he was going to get the job there.  But hey, let's let bygones be bygones...

We chatted with Jess Root, managing editor at Revenge of the Birds, about the upcoming contest.  He provided some great insight to the Cardinals operation, and gave us some things to keep an eye on during the game.  You can find their version of this post right here: LINK

1- In Bruce Arians' first two season at head coach in Arizona, he's posted 10-6 and 11-5 records, and made the playoffs once. For all intents and purposes, the Cards have high hopes for 2015 as well. How are the fans feeling about Coach Arians, and what has been his biggest changes since arriving?

Jess: Well, Arians is more or less a magic man. Fans really have no complaints about him. And while you can nitpick a few things, based on the results so far, he is a wizard. The fans are consuming copious amounts of Cardinals Kool-Aid.

What did he change? He and general manager Steve Keim have almost completely turned over the roster and have added depth at most positions. But the most important piece was bringing in Carson Palmer. That solidified the position.

2- From an ownership/ front office perspective, you've got the Bill Bidwell as owner, son Michael Bidwell as President, and long-time exec Steve Keim as GM. How does that dynamic work in Arizona, and how involved is everyone in the operation?

Jess: Bill is out of the picture now. Michael took over the team years ago. When the Cardinals had their Super Bowl run, it changed his perspective. He realized how profitable a winnning team is, so he has pushed for winning, rather than saving money, which was always the biggest criticism of his father.

Keim is the man with the last word on football moves. Bidwill cuts the checks and approves facility improvements and training camp decisions -- things like that. It works pretty well.

3- Who are a couple of rookies that we need to keep an eye on this Sunday, and which of your 2014 draft class is really stepping up in their sophomore year?

Jess: There are three rookies to watch. One is defensive lineman Rodney Gunter. He was thrust into the starting lineup when Corey Peters was lost for the season with a torn Achilles. Gunter was an unknown guy out of Delaware State the Cardinals traded up to get in the fourth round. He was seen more as a project, but has some serious physical gifts.

Running back David Johnson forced everyone to look at him. He will back up Chris Johnson on Sunday. He had two touches last week. As a kickoff returner, his one return went for 43 yards. Then, he put the game away with a 55-yard touchdown reception. He will probably be used more in the passing game, as he is special as a receiver, but he has size and speed.

J.J. Nelson was the fastest man at the Combine. He will return punts and get plenty of playing time on offense, depending on how much Michael Floyd plays this week.

As for the 2014 class, Deone Bucannon is playing every down, only not at safety. He has been playing all linebacker. Watch out. He can hit. John Brown is the guy everyone wants to talk about. With Bruce Arians and his ability to grab small, fast receivers and see them become stars (Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, T.Y. Hilton), Brown looks like the next one to bust out and be huge.

4- The NFC West is looking pretty volatile right now, with Seattle losing their season opener, and the issues in San Francisco. How do you see that division shaking out for the 2015 season?

Jess: I'd love to say the Cardinals will win it all, but even without Kam Chancellor, you still have to think the Seahawks are the favorites until it is taken away. I see the Cardinals and Seahawks going down to the wire for the division title. I think the Rams will be better, but finish 9-7 or 8-8, while the Niners are going to be tougher than expected. I see 7-8 wins from them.

5- What is the biggest strength and weakness on each side of the ball for Arizona?

Jess: On offense, their strength is speed and depth at receiver. They have speed to spare with Brown, Chris Johnson, David Johnson and Nelson. They have athleticism at tight end with Darren Fells and Jermaine Gresham. Most importantly, they have a very, very talented Carson Palmer at quarterback. The weakness is whether the offensive line can create a push in the running game and protect Palmer. He was not sacked in Week 1 and they ran the ball for 120 yards, but that is still the question.

Defensively, they will be great at stopping the run. They have a very good secondary. They do not have a very good pass rush and, based on last week, they are susceptible to running back screens and dumpoffs.

Bonus question: Final score prediction?

Jess: Cardinals 30, Bears 16