Is it time for the Arizona Cardinals to hit the panic button just yet as they face the challenge of trying to save their season?
After an embarrassing and demoralizing 38-10 defeat in primetime at the hands of a division rival, the Arizona Cardinals are officially in panic mode as they cannot afford to lose another game. A playoff appearance is still a reality but they would more than likely have to win the rest of their remaining games just to be in the chase for a wildcard.
Currently sitting in third place in the NFC West, it will be difficult for the Cardinals to catch up in the division as they only have one divisional matchup left on the schedule which is a date with the 49ers once again on the last day of the regular season. The question is whether that will be a meaningful game or will the Cardinals just be playing for pride at that point?
The Cardinals next two games will be played at State Farm Stadium but home field hasn’t been much of an advantage as they have compiled an 1-4 record at home. Next up for the Cardinals are the Los Angeles Chargers, who have a young rising star in quarterback Justin Herbert and this matchup does not bode well for the secondary, as the Chargers have the sixth best passing attack in the league in terms of yardage.
Arizona Cardinals struggles necessitates the panic button
The Cardinals linebackers struggled to track running back Christian McCaffrey coming out of the backfield as he compiled 67 yards through the air on seven catches as he was targeted seven times. The Cardinals will face another dynamic pass catching threat in RB Austin Ekeler, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph must figure out how to limit big plays.
According to StatMuse.com, Ekeler has the most yards on receptions by a running back since 2021 with 1,084 yards. Joseph may have to ask linebacker Isaiah Simmons to shadow Ekeler and try to limit his production on passing plays.
The Cardinals secondary has been atrocious to say the least as they have allowed the third-most passing yards in the NFL. They only allowed 228 yards through the air against the 49ers, but it was the big plays that killed them.
Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle combined for six total catches, but four of those six went for touchdowns. The Cardinals sorely missed Byron Murphy Jr. who is easily their best cover corner and has missed the last two games due to a lingering back injury but hopefully he’ll be able to suit up as they will have their hands full trying to defend wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
It remains to be a mystery whether quarterback Kyler Murray will be able to play against the Chargers as he will be needed due to the lack of a legit rushing attack. Murray currently leads the team in rushing yards, not an ideal situation for the Cardinals,
Murray is currently seventh in that category among his peers at the quarterback position, and has been an asset in those regards considering the lack of production from the running backs on the roster. The game plan for the Arizona Cardinals will have to be successful because it’s time to panic.
A lot will be riding on this next game for players and coaches alike and changes are bound to happen sooner rather than later. They came into the season with high expectations and have fallen short tremendously.
The Cardinals do expect Murray and wide receiver Marquis “Hollywood” Brown to suit up against the Chargers which will benefit them because they will need all hands on deck as this is essentially a playoff game for them so to say. If the Cardinals can pull off the upset then they can continue on with their pursuit of qualifying for the postseason. If they lose this game, we can expect the soap opera to begin as there are sure to be plenty of changes in the desert.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference and Stat Muse)
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