It was a disappointing season in the desert but the Arizona Cardinals did well in games against their NFC West division rivals
Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians has said it and the rest of the NFL would agree. Win your division games and you could very well be on your way to a successful season. Well, the Cards haven’t had a successful year, but it’s not due to a lack of division victories.
They did fail early on in their first divisional test against the Los Angeles Rams. It was back in week four, and the 17-13 defeat left the Cardinals at an underachieving 1-3 clip.
Four days after falling to the Rams, Arizona rebounded by earning a 33-21 decision over the San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals played the game on the road and without quarterback Carson Palmer. Drew Stanton got the start and did not play well. But with two touchdown throws to Larry Fitzgerald, they were able to pull it.
The next division matchup was a home contest against the Seattle Seahawks. That game ended in a disheartening 6-6 tie. Chandler Catanzaro’s 24-yard field goal could’ve given Arizona the win, but clanged off the upright, leaving Cardinals fans heartbroken.
Three weeks later, the Cardinals struggled but ultimately beat the 49ers again, 23-20. The win completed a season sweep of the Niners, and improved Arizona’s division record to 2-1-1.
A rematch against the Seahawks on Christmas Eve in Seattle resulted in a thrilling win. After blowing a lead, the Cardinals rallied and gave Catanzaro a chance to redeem himself from the earlier debacle. This time his field goal was right down the pipe, and Arizona prevailed 34-31.
Their division record currently stands at 3-1-1, with one more division game remaining. It’s an extremely winnable game next weekend in Los Angeles against the Rams.
The success this season against their rivals won’t amount to much in the end. Seattle will win the division, despite being unable to defeat the Cardinals in two contests. But being able to defeat NFC West opponents is imperative to future division championships.