Arizona Cardinals need to keep foot on pedal
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals face the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night with a chance to win the NFC West
There are going to be two weeks remaining in the 2015 NFL season after Sunday night. Win or lose, that is a fact. However for the Arizona Cardinals, if they win, the fact is they win the NFC West. The big question is do they start resting players knowing the number one seed is likely unattainable or do they keep playing everyone?
Knowing Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, they will keep the foot on the pedal. They have to. There will still be things at stake and you want to be sharp for the playoffs.
The Cardinals, even with a win, still will have work to do. If the Green Bay Packers defeat the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon, then the Cardinals will not have been able to wrap up the second seed this weekend. They play the Packers next Sunday in Glendale.
If the Packers lose and the Cardinals win on Sunday, the Cardinals will win the NFC West and lock in at least a second seed. They can still beat out Carolina Panthers for the number one seed but Carolina is 13-0 and needs to lose at least two of their remaining three games. That is an unlikely scenario.
We’ve seen teams rest their starters for the playoffs before, sometimes with two weeks left. However that is not Bruce Arians style. Now, if the Cardinals playoff positioning is all but set after Sunday night, then you could see a scenario where the starters only play maybe two or three quarters. However they need to play.
When we’ve seen starters rested in the past, especially with teams that will have a bye week in the first round of the playoffs, we’ve seen rust. The Cardinals haven’t exactly been sharp the past few weeks anyway, despite the seven-game winning streak. You can’t play in fear of injury, although the Cardinals have had their share the last two seasons.
If the Cardinals keep their foot on the pedal through the Packers game in week 16 and the Seattle Seahawks game in week 17, then they will be that much more ready for the NFC Divisional playoffs in the second week of January.