A softer schedule for the final month of the season could help the Arizona Cardinals in their bid to sneak into the playoffs.
As crazy as it may seem, the Arizona Cardinals can still make the playoffs. The 4-8 Redbirds would need to win all of their remaining matchups (stop laughing) and also need outside help to pull off such a feat.
In fact, the winning part of this equation seems more likely. The cards are far more talented on paper than their record suggests. With the firepower the team possesses on offense, there’s no reason to think Kyler Murray and his teammates couldn’t have a five-game winning streak.
In Arizona’s favor, the schedule softens a lot in the final month of the season. In fact, there isn’t an upcoming opponent the Cardinals can’t beat.
The Arizona Cardinals can feast on mediocre teams for the next five weeks
On Monday night, “Big Red” will take on a New England Patriots roster with Mac Jones starting as quarterback. The Pats sit at 6-6 and have lost their last two contests. Would it be far-fetched to think that Murray could score more points than the mediocre Jones?
In Week 15, the Cards take on a group of Denver Broncos who were limping to a 3-9 record this fall. Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett might actually be in the hot seat more than Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury. The Broncos have excellent defense, but veteran signal-caller Russell Wilson’s best days look far behind him.
A week later, the Cardinals will host 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. Is it that hard to imagine the Cards doing the same for the Bucs at State Farm Stadium on Christmas Eve?
Up next for Arizona in Week 17 is the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise likely to start a rookie passer when the New Year’s Day matchup occurs. The Falcons have handed the reins to Desmond Ridder, a third-round draft pick who will take over from Marcus Mariota. Head coach Arthur Smith’s side are now looking to the future after posting an unimpressive 5-8 mark in 13 games.
The final duel of the year comes against the San Francisco 49ers, rivals in the Cardinals Division, whose current starter at quarterback is this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant” last April. San Francisco will try to stay afloat with rookie Brock Purdy, the 262nd overall pick of the ’22 NFL Draft. One would think that card defense could make life difficult for such an inexperienced youngster on the final Sunday of the season.
A late-season trip for Arizona is unlikely, but not impossible. Who knows, maybe this gang of cardinals will make things exciting for their fan base by leading the table? A less than daunting segment of the schedule could certainly help make this scenario a reality.
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