The Arizona Cardinals (11-5) are playoff bound for the first time since 2015. That much is certain.
At worst, Arizona is locked into the five seed, where a rematch with the Dallas Cowboys would be in store.
The division crown is still in play if the Cardinals beat the Seahawks and the Rams lose to the 49ers. Despite not losing since November, the Rams have lost five straight to San Francisco. Winning the NFC West would give Arizona the three seed.
So with all of that laid out, Sunday’s game is simple. Win and see where the dominoes fall.
“We still have everything that we want in front of us,” wide receiver Christian Kirk said to the media on Tuesday. “Going out there and controlling what we can control and getting one week better and being 1-0 after we play Seattle is the most important part.”
The struggles of the second half are well documented. Following a 8-1 start, the bird gang is 3-4. Running backs like James Connor and Chase Edmonds weren’t always on the field together due to injuries to the latter. DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt are both on injured reserve, with a slight possibility of returning for the post season. The defense has been mostly stellar, but players have also been in and out of the lineup causing some chunkiness at times. The injury report is still rather long.
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) January 6, 2022
In other words, the Cardinals are experiencing an NFL season. Players are going to get hurt and with COVID-19 as a new wrinkle, more players than ever are missing games. That’s a given for all teams and now the Cardinals have to prepare for a postseason run with a revolving door of players
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One of the brightest performances this year is that of Christian Kirk. The 2018 second round pick and Scottsdale native is nearing his first 1,000 yard season (950).
“I’m just going to go out there and play my game,” Kirk said. “I’m going to take every opportunity as it comes my way. It’s a good feat because I feel like I surpassed a lot of expectations this year. I just want to keep riding that and end on a high note.”
With the absence of Hopkins and rookie Rondale Moore, Kirk is one of the best options for Kyler Murray to turn to. As an impending free agent, Kirk is doing enough to earn a bag with Arizona or any other team in the league.
As a side note, Kirk is a grinder. He’s gone through the ringer while dealing with expectations and injuries during the early parts of his career. Now he’s found a way to climb out of it and make an impact on a playoff bound team. He actually spoke in depth about his mental health journey from being a star freshman at Saguaro high school to playing at Texas A&M and of course with the Cardinals as well. He spoke about that and dealing with life as an NFL player when he joined the YNK Podcast by Mike back in early December. It’s a really good listen for anyone trying to learn more about Kirk.
Be vulnerable enough to take care of your mind and your mental health.
— YNK: you know what I mean? (@ynk_podcast) December 7, 2021