The Arizona Cardinals understand what’s in front of them.
After storming out of the gate to a perfect 4-0 start which included an improbable win in New England against Bill Belichick and the Patriots and a dominating defensive effort against Michael Vick and the Eagles, the Red Birds have headed south so to speak, losing three-straight after Sunday’s loss to the Vikings.
Ken Whisenhunt’s team finds itself tied for second-place with Seattle in the suddenly ultra competitive NFC West where just two games separate the first-place team from the last.
The Cards will have to wait an extra day to break their losing streak but you won’t hear any of them complaining as they welcome the first-place San Francisco 49ers to Glendale for Monday Night Football.
Both have had a stranglehold on the top of the division in the recent past and there’s certainly no love lost between the two teams.
“Plain and simple, we hate them and they hate us,” Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell told Brad Cesmat Tuesday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “That’s just the way it is. Our coaches hate them and their coaches hate us…I love have rivalries like this. When we play the 49ers it’s pure hate.”
Monday’s match-up at the University of Phoenix Stadium presents unique opportunities for both teams. For Jim Harbaugh and the Niners, a victory would help cement their place atop the division at the midway point of the season. For the Cards, a win against an elite team could help restore the swagger which we saw a month ago.
Although San Francisco has gotten the better of the series in recent years winning five of the last six, Campbell promises the Red Birds will be ready.
“We’re coming with everything we have and we’re going to try to whoop them because we hate them that bad,” Campbell explained to Cesmat. “This game becomes so much more intense, especially Monday Night Football where you know everybody is watching. This is as good as it gets. This is what it’s all about. This is the game you look forward when the schedule [is released]. Everybody respects the 49ers. They are the team to beat in the NFC West.”
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. with television coverage on ESPN.
Check back to Pros2Preps.com for complete coverage before, during, and after the game in the coming days.