Cardinals Embracing Challenge Of Facing Rams For Third Time

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The regular season was a roller coaster for the Arizona Cardinals (11-6).

It began with a 7-0 start. Then turmoil set in, marked by mediocre play and and an abundance of injuries. Kliff Kingsbury’s message to his team is to reset and embrace everything this season has brought forth. 

“Let’s enjoy the challenge of it all ” Kingsbury said on Monday. “We’ve had some ups and downs. Dealt with some injuries. We’ve progressed at times. We’ve gone through some lapses, but it’s 0-0. Nobody remembers the regular season, really it’s what you do from here on out.”

This is the third matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals won in Los Angeles in Week 4 and faltered in Week 11 at home. After blowing an opportunity to win the NFC West with a loss to Seattle, this team needs to hit the rest button.

The game will be played Monday January 17, which gives Arizona an extra day to get healthy. James Connor returned from injury in Week 18, but got nicked up. Kingsbury isn’t sure what his status will be. DeAndre Hopkins was still on crutches on the sidelines in the regular season finale. JJ Watt may return after being activated off the injured reserve last week. Rondale Moore could be a key returner as well. All of that is still up in the air as the Cardinals take a rest day today before analyzing film tomorrow.

Despite all of those circumstances, the Cardinals feel as though the slate is clean. 

“We’ve got an opportunity to play a division opponent to advance in the playoffs,” Kingsbury said. “We know it’ll be a dog fight… we know what’s out in front of us, the opportunity we have and so all the focus is about moving forward.”


As a brief side note, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the No. 5 seed last year before making a run at a Super Bowl. The Cardinals went 8-1 on the road, so this isn’t worse case scenario for them. What’s more alarming is the dysfunction of the offense at times, and lack of continuity on defense. That’s where they have to “flip a switch” in order to beat the Rams and go on a deep run.