At long last, the stretch run of the 2023 NFL campaign has arrived for the Arizona Cardinals. Over the past few months, the "Bird Gang" has been forced to exercise a ton of patience. Even the most optimistic Cards fan would have to admit that sticking with a squad that has compiled a 3-10 record thus far is far from easy.
Nevertheless, the Redbirds have a loyal following that dreams about a Super Bowl championship. When, and if, that will happen is anybody's guess. That goal is a lofty one, but the Arizona fanbase will be expecting a playoff appearance at the very least next fall.
Over the next month or so, the Cardinals will embark on the season's final four contests. Each individual matchup will present it's own unique challenge for head coach Jonathan Gannon and the crew. How the team performs in those games could go a long way in determining what "Big Red" will look like in 2024 and beyond.
Week 15 - San Francisco 49ers (Home)
Arizona's next opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, are on a tear. Last Sunday, the division rival marched into the "City of Brotherly Love" and completely dismantled the Philadelphia Eagles. The 42-19 victory was quite impressive, and there are those who believe that the 49ers will compete in the NFC Championship Game for the third consecutive year in late January.
The Cards actually hung in there with San Francisco back in October, but things have changed since then. On the bright side, Kyler Murray has replaced Joshua Dobbs as the squad's starting quarterback. The Niners also got better, however, having acquired stud defensive end Chase Young at the trade deadline back on October 31st.
San Francisco resembles a runaway train at the present time, and it's entirely possible that the Cardinals could get steamrolled on December 17th. The long-term idea is for the franchise to level the playing field with the class of the NFC West, but they're obviously not there yet. Arizona may keep it competitive for a while, but the 49ers prevail by a score of 34-20 in the end.