Cards Make Second Attempt at Clinching NFC West
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals (8-5) will try to clinch the NFC West for the second straight week after failing to do so last week in San Francisco.
On paper, the outcome is a forgone conclusion. Well, this is why the play the games. Granted, the Cards are 12 point favorites against the Detroit Lions (2-11) tomorrow at Ford Field, however, Detroit has shown they can score and quickly. Their wins have come against lesser opponents, Washington and Cleveland but this is a game the Cards should not overlook. They say they are taking it one game at a time, so let’s hope that mentality sticks.
The Cards must take better care of the ball. Seven turnovers is unacceptabl. The Cards will lose even to the Lions if they repeat their feat from Monday night. This is the NFL. Even the bad teams make you pay for multiple turnovers, although San Francisco did leave the Cards in the game until the fourth quarter Monday night.
The Cards will be going in with a different kicker, Mike Nugent, thanks to Neil Rackers groin pull, which will probably be rested until the playoffs.
One burning question is whether the defense can slow Lions receiver Calvin Johnson down? The secondary is a little slimmer this week thanks to the loss of Matt Ware for the season.
The Cards also need to run the ball without fear of fumbling. Does that mean running back Tim Hightower sits? Well, not sure which is the lesser of two evils right now since running back Beanie Wells also put one on the ground on Monday night.
The Cards should clinch this week, however they should not rest. They still have an outside shot at the second seed, but are still very alive for the third seed. I’ve heard some local sportscasters say it doesn’t matter if you are the third or fourth seed. I say it does. What if you have to play that third seed in the NFC Championship game as the fourth seed? Well, you are on the road. I’d rather take my chances with a Philadelphia or Dallas at home.
Arizona 35 Detroit 24