A softer schedule over the final month of the season could help the Arizona Cardinals in their quest to sneak into the playoffs.
As crazy as it may seem, the Arizona Cardinals can still get into the playoffs. The 4-8 Redbirds would have to win all of their remaining matchups (stop laughing), and would also need some outside help to accomplish such a feat.
Actually, the winning-out part of that equation seems more likely. The Cards are much more talented on paper than their record would indicate. With the firepower the team possesses on offense, there’s no reason to believe that Kyler Murray and his teammates couldn’t go on a five-game winning streak.
Working in Arizona’s favor is the fact that the schedule becomes a whole lot softer over the final month of the season. In fact, there isn’t one upcoming opponent who the Cardinals can’t beat.
Arizona Cardinals can feast on mediocre teams over the next five weeks
On Monday night, “Big Red” will take on a New England Patriots squad that has Mac Jones starting at quarterback. The Pats are sitting at 6-6, and have lost their last two contests. Would it be outlandish to think that Murray could put more points on the scoreboard than the mediocre Jones?
In Week 15, the Cards will take on a Denver Broncos group that has limped to a 3-9 record this fall. Nathaniel Hackett, Denver’s head coach, may actually be more on the hot seat than Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury. The Broncos have an excellent defense, but veteran signal-caller Russell Wilson’s best days appear to be well behind him.
A week later, the Cardinals will play host to an aging Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Todd Bowles’ team somehow lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns in 2022. Would it be that difficult to imagine the Cards doing the same to the Bucs at State Farm Stadium on Christmas night?
Next up for Arizona in Week 17 is the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise who’ll likely be starting a rookie passer when the matchup takes place on New Year’s Day. The Falcons have handed the reins to Desmond Ridder, a third-round draft pick who will take over for Marcus Mariota. Head coach Arthur Smith’s crew is now looking towards the future after amassing an unimpressive 5-8 mark through 13 games.
The last matchup of the year will be against the San Francisco 49ers, the Cardinals’ division rival who’s current starter at quarterback was this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant” last April. San Francisco will attempt to stay above water with rookie Brock Purdy, the 262nd-overall selection of the ’22 NFL Draft. One would have to think that the Cards defense could make life complicated for such an inexperienced youngster on the campaign’s final Sunday.
A trip to the postseason for Arizona is improbable but not impossible. Who knows, maybe this band of Cardinals will make things exciting for their fanbase by running the table? A less-than-daunting segment of the schedule could certainly help make that scenario a reality.
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