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Friday before the finale against the Seahawks

Posted by Darren Urban on January 1, 2016 – 4:00 pm

The first game of Russell Wilson’s career started with a loss at University of Phoenix Stadium. It was close, but the Cardinals held on as one of those wins in their mirage of a 4-0 start back in 2012. It was before anyone really knew Russell Wilson was Russell Wilson. It was also the last time the Cards beat the Seahawks at home.

The last two years haven’t been close, even though it’s been in a tremendous upgrade of the Arians era. It’s the only team the Cards have had issues with at home. The first game, Carson Palmer and the offense weren’t ready yet (and the Seahawks defense was at its peak in 2013). Last year, Ryan Lindley started and, well, you know.

We bring up this history lesson in part to understand why Arians is looking to play Sunday’s game straight. Sure, there’s a chance things will change as the game goes along, if the Panthers start to pull away (although Arians said that won’t be a factor) or if the game itself gets sideways.

But mostly, I expect Carson Palmer throwing to Floyd and Smoke and Patrick Peterson covering Doug Baldwin (mostly). Yes, there are risks. But there is still something to play for.

— Speaking of that something to play for, no, I do not expect the Buccaneers to win in Carolina. Never say never.

— The Cardinals aren’t going to get nine sacks a week – especially when Markus Golden, who quietly has had a very, very good rookie season, is sitting out – but their pass rush is rounding into form. Dwight Freeney has been impressive, clearly. But the Seahawks are without starting guard J.R. Sweezy and likely will be without starting tackle Russell Okung. There could be some opportunity to take down the slippery Wilson.

— Bruce Arians said the Cardinals will practice three days next week, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Each day will be spent on different potential playoff opponents. The plus the Cardinals have is that, aside from the Redskins (whom the Cards did see in 2014), the Cardinals will have played every single other one of their possible playoff matchups in the last month – Vikings, Packers, Seahawks.

— Since the Cards beat the Seahawks earlier this season, Wilson has thrown for 21 touchdowns and only one interception.

— A bunch of potential milestones well within reach of the Cardinals going into this game.

* Larry Fitzgerald’s first catch will give him a franchise record 104 in a season.
* Palmer needs 73 yards to set a franchise record for passing yards in a season.
* Smokey Brown needs 42 yards receiving to reach 1,000 this season. (Michael Floyd needs 167 to get to 1,000 – I don’t see that happening.)
* Chandler Catanzaro needs four points to set a franchise record in a season.

— Defensive tackle Red Bryant, who played the first six years of his career in Seattle and won a Super Bowl, gets the first chance to play against his former team.

“It’s definitely going to be weird,” Bryant said. “I’m excited. I’ve got a lot of respect for them. I’m not bitter. I had six great years, accomplished a lot. Now I’m trying to help this team win. I’m not going to have a lot of emotion in terms of feeling I have to prove something. I’ll let my preparation do the talking.”

— With all of Arians’ talk about playing as normal, it doesn’t not look like first-round pick D.J. Humphries will be active for a game this season. And while Golden is down, I don’t expect to see fifth-round pick Shaq Riddick much if at all, given that Arians said Kareem Martin and even Alani Fua could see time in his spot.

— One more, and then on to the playoffs.

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Posted in Blog | 14 Comments »


14 Responses to “Friday before the finale against the Seahawks”

  1. By Sherry on Jan 1, 2016 | Reply

    Just read your blog; right on!

  2. By Art on Jan 1, 2016 | Reply

    When will they replay “A Football Life” Bruce Arians?
    Go Angry Birds!!!

  3. By Darren Urban on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    Art —

    RE: A Football Life

    I’m not sure. They already replayed it four times so it’ll probably be random at this point.

  4. By CRamsey on Jan 1, 2016 | Reply

    Are the Golden or Mauro injuries serious enough to put the divisional round of the playoffs in question for them? That is a lot of depth we’ll need at the d-line.

  5. By Darren Urban on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    CRamsey —

    RE: Golden/Mauro

    I don’t believe so, but we are still two weeks away from that game.

  6. By Dr. G. on Jan 1, 2016 | Reply

    Not much else can be added…you have highlighted the game conditions to be noted and monitored on Sunday, Darren… to make judgments on who plays late in the game. Our pride wants the win just for drill, and another record…later

  7. By Mr. Know it All on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    Words that describe our AZ Cardinals;

    Determined
    Focused
    Talented
    Confident
    Accountable

    and soon Super Bowl 50 Nfl World Champions !!!!

    Cardinals all the way ! !! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  8. By clssylssy on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    Last week was truly a joy, the guys seemed to play with a certain rytham that felt natural and we’re having the time of their lives! The sack dance they introduced the Packers to seemed like a rehearsal for Russell Wilson and the playoff teams to follow. Wow! who ever said old guys don’t have moves…I’m loving me some Dwight Freeney and am hoping to see him get the three more sacks against Seattle! SK really outdid himself this year with his late veteran additions , Chris J,Dwight F, Cory R. & DJ Swearinger and may have written his own chapter for GMs trying to figure out how to achieve success operating within a cap.
    It seems this game is being down played a lot since the playoff picture has about been determined but this could be huge for us. We have seen the talent on this team and what we’re capable of so now it’s about playing hungry and keeping focus. LET’S FINISH STRONG & BE SAVAGE!

  9. By DTL on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    Lets line up and hit. SB or nothing at all…

  10. By rod on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    @ART

    A football Life – BA

  11. By Dr. G. on Jan 2, 2016 | Reply

    Cards Fans… Hear Ye, Hear Ye…. We Cards Fans are probably concentrating on the NFC so that we may slam the door on half our competition.

    Please take notice…””There is a sleeper team on the AFC side of the playoff bracket…namely, the KC Chiefs – – starting out slowly, and jamming down the middle and home stretches with 9 ((nine!)) wins in a row.

    It is possible they can take their Division tomorrow. Regardless, they are putting the AFC on notice that.. “”you don’t want to play us..!!”” They are a scary proposition right now….later….

  12. By Darren Urban on Jan 3, 2016 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Chiefs

    Here’s the thing that strikes me whenever someone brings up an AFC team, whether it be the Chiefs, or the Steelers a couple weeks ago, or the getting-healthy Patriots … they are only a concern for the Cardinals if they make the Super Bowl. At that point … the Cardinals are in the Super Bowl.

    In other words, champagne problems. If it even is a problem. The Cards would still be the favorite to win a game vs. K.C. in Santa Clara.

  13. By clssylssy on Jan 3, 2016 | Reply

    We’ve all seen what talented and dangerous these two teams are so this game will actually come down to a coaching competition. Carroll has taken his team to the SB in back-to-back years and we’ve seen what BA can do with a program in three years. Now is BA’s time for it all to come together, and in many ways be a statement game that will speak to his expertise as a championship caliber coach. LET’S GO CARDS! WE DO THIS TOGETHER!

  14. By Dr. G. on Jan 3, 2016 | Reply

    Darren…Indeed..that is why I said we want to slam the door on the NFC.

    I am a NFL fan….following all the league possibilities. I like to analyze who our future opponents will be. As I watch today, the Pats have already lost. The Cards are working hard to come back – -as FITZ just scores… Zaro misses the pat… And I am rooting for Tampa Bay over Carolina… Happy 2016…

    Do you recall that I have 2 favorite teams? The CARDS and whoever plays the cowboys…later

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