What difference…4 months makes! The St. Louis Rams faced a new Cardinals team on Sunday, four months to the day sure made a huge difference. The Arizona Cardinals are looking exactly how fans and staff had envisioned the team to be when the off season was under way. Carson, only sacked once, was connected with all the receivers especially Larry Fitzgerald. The running game was solid as well as their pass protection. Speaking of protection, the offensive line handled a very formidable defensive front seven from the Rams. The Cardinals defense played exactly as expected, forcing 4 sacks, 2 interceptions as well as 11 penalties for the Rams.
Short of Jay Feely missing some surprising kicks, the Cardinals seemed to have put together their most complete game this season. It is great to see the team really hit their stride towards the end of the season with still a chance at the playoffs. Speaking of that chance, I have been playing with ESPN’s Playoff Machine recently and the Cardinals have a few options on how to get in. What would make it the easiest on thenselves is if they win out (Titans, Seahawks, 49ers). This is a tough task but I wouldn’t call it impossible (there is still a chance to miss the playoffs if we win out). The best thing that could happen is if the Panthers lose two games. But, if the Panthers win two out of three (Jets, Saints, Falcons) then you can count the Cardinals out. Also, the same can be said for the 49ers. If they lose two, that’s good for the Cardinals. But if they win out (Buccaneers, Falcons, Cardinals) then bye bye playoffs. What I am hoping for is that the Saints and Falcons can bring their “A Game” (specifically the Falcons) and beat the Panthers in the last week.
I can’t remember a more intense fight for a wild card spot in the NFC than this year. No one knows exactly what will happen, but I have copied a link to the Playoff Machine to what I hope will happen.