The Arizona Cardinals are well aware it’s coming.
In fact, they’ve known about it for quite some time.
As soon as the 2014 schedule was released the Cards knew the last three weeks of the regular season was filled with potential land mines with trips to St. Louis and San Francisco, sandwiched around a home game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.
The Cards (10-3) continue to control their destiny as the current number one seed in the NFC, despite losing two of their last three. Their 17-14 comeback win over the Chiefs Sunday afternoon in Glendale temporary stopped the bleeding.
One NFL insider believes Arizona may hold the ultimate band-aid.
“In an ideal world, right now, it really looks like Seattle at Green Bay for the NFC title,” King explained to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview Tuesday morning. “But, even though they have a had a couple of bad losses, I am not discounting the Cardinals yet. It doesn’t feel right but…any given Sunday, especially when you have Todd Bowles dialing it up on defense.”
It’s a defense the Cards relied on to force a pair of key second half Kansas City turnovers in Arizona territory and one the Bird Gang has relied on as quarterback Drew Stanton and the offense looks to hit their stride.
Somehow Bowles and his defensive staff have continued to push the right buttons in spite of a myriad of key injuries which would likely cripple many teams in the league. Despite the success King warns the Cards are walking on thin ice entering the stretch run of the season.
“I would be worried about one more loss to a significant player on defense,” he said. “There’s only so many of those you can take. If Deone Bucannon goes down or [Tony] Jefferson or [Rashad] Johnson goes down for the year that’s when I’d really worry. Their safeties are so important. Because Todd Bowles uses them, in essence, as linebackers you need those guys because they just don’t have the depth at linebacker.”
Thursday night in the Edward Jones Dome could be a low-scoring game with both the Cards’ and Rams’ defense peaking. St. Louis has recorded back-to-back shutouts over the Raiders and Redskins and two weeks earlier held Peyton Manning and Denver’s potent offense to just seven points.