December football critical for struggling Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have not made the playoffs since 2015. And with their recent skid, that streak may continue with one month left to play
Coming into the 2020 season, the Arizona Cardinals were flying below the radar, as not a lot was expected from a team that only won 5 games the previous year. After their quick, surprising 2-0 start, Big Red was the talk of the NFL as a team that could take over the vaunted NFC West division.
Fast forward to Week 13, and the start of “December Football,” and a lot more questions remain than answers for the third place Cards. Albeit there have been flashes of greatness from the Sunday Night win vs. the Seattle Seahawks, to the incredible “Hail Murray” against the Buffalo Bills, the Cardinals have lost 3 of their last 4 games.
It’s not the losses that hurt most — it’s the lack of urgency; the terrible play calling; the inconsistency of their placer kicker. Adding all those together does not equate to a team ready for a deep playoff in the the National Football Conference.
Heading into the last month of the season. the Cardinals will see the Los Angeles Rams (twice), Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. That leaves them with the 12th hardest remaining strength-of-schedule in the NFL to close the 2020 campaign.
They currently own the 7th seed in the NFC, which leaves them exposed to any teams looking to make a run at them for the last playoff spot. The Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and the aforementioned San Francisco 49ers are still in the hunt, which will make things extremely interesting for all involved parties for the last month of regular season play.
Ideally, with 3 division games still on the docket, winning the Division is still very much in play, as well as obtaining a higher Wild Card seed. The latter, however, seems more realistic and within reach at this point.
The silver lining for the Cardinals: they still posses one of the best offenses in the NFL, despite the recent struggles. They are currently ranked 2nd in the NFL, gaining 403.7 yards per game so far this season. Come Sunday, they will face the 2nd-ranked defense in the NFL in the Los Angeles Rams.
It’ll be their first test for them in December, and with the playoffs on the horizon, we’ll get a glimpse of what type of team will be playing come playoff time. Will they be flying high into the playoffs, or will their wings be clipped and fall short as we enter another off-season riddled with question marks?