Few things have followed script through the first half of the season for the Arizona Cardinals.
Sitting 3-3-1 after a gut-wrenching 6-6 tie to NFC West-leading Seattle, Bruce Arians’ team has work to do to climb back in the playoff picture. It appears, after what happened Sunday night in Glendale, the Cards will need also help from others with some many teams in the conference stacked in front of them.
The mostly bumpy, inconsistent theme from the first seven games can be attributed to many different things. On the surface, the 1-5 Carolina Panthers, losers of four-straight, appear to be the perfect remedy for a team hoping to get right before next week’s bye.
That may nor be the case according to one of the leading voices of the NFL.
“I think the Panthers have had a very, very uncomfortable bye week,” SI.com Senior NFL Writer/‘MMQB Editor-in-Chief Peter King told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat via Skype this week. “Because I think they understand they may not have to run the table but it’s very, very close.”
One of the more interesting storylines to follow will be the Cardinals banged up wide receivers working against a young, underperforming secondary which greatly misses Josh Norman who signed a lucrative free-agent deal with the Redskins last spring.
Another subplot this weekend will be Arizona’s special teams, particularly kicker Chandler Catanzaro who is two late field goals away from having the Cards sitting in a much different Week 8 position.
King feels the match up is intriguing because of what’s at stake in the present for both franchises who never could have envisioned their current status back in training camp.
“I really think that this is the game of the week,” King said. “There may be better games in terms of quality and records and everything like that…but it’s a playoff game for two playoff teams.”
It’s safe to say the loser Sunday afternoon in Charlotte can put those post-season aspirations on hold until next season.