Pick Three: Cardinals Preparing, Waiting For Divisional Opponent

The Arizona Cardinals returned to the practice field Wednesday and both head coach Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer were pleased with the quick, precise workout the Cards went through in Tempe.

“Good practice,” Arians said. “This is a new year. I don’t give a [expletive] about last week.”

The Bird Gang know when and where they’re playing but they don’t know who. With players and coaches off this weekend they’ll be at home watching and waiting like the rest of us for their NFC divisional round opponent January 16th in Glendale.

It could be Green Bay, Minnesota or the NFC East champion Washington Redskins. The Cards have played and defeated both the Vikings and Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Each of the trio present unique challenges moving forward.

Long-time SI.com NFL insider Peter King joined Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat and discussed each team and the challenges they could present next weekend, starting with the Redskins.

“Right now if you look at [quarterback] Kirk Cousins, second half of the season, his touchdown-to-interception ratio was 19-2,” King said. “He had [several] quarterback ratings over 100.” Kirk Cousins, I don’t know if he’s a Top 10 quarterback right now, but he’s really good.”

King isn’t as optimistic about the Packers potentially pulling the upset in Arizona if they can get by Washington Sunday afternoon in D.C.

“It’s just the wrong year for Green Bay,” he explained to Cesmat. “I hate to dismiss Green Bay but I keep watching them in the last half of the season…what the Packers need is an off-season to get back to the basics…you need this season to be over. You need to go fix your team.”

Lastly, the Cardinals could get a rematch with the Vikings who they defeated 23-20 back on December 10th. Mike Zimmer’s team enter the playoffs hot (winners of three-straight) and healthy.

King believes the key to Minnesota’s success would be playing keep away from Palmer and the Cards’ potent offense.

“What I would if I were Mike Zimmer, if I were [offensive coordinator] Norv Turner in this game,” King said. “I would say, ‘there’s a reason why we have the best running back in football [Adrian Peterson]  on our team. We’re going to use him.’ I would make the Cardinals stop Adrian Peterson.”

Arians said earlier this week the Cards will spend an individual practice focusing on and scheming against each of the three teams.

Welcome to the playoffs.