When watching the Arizona Cardinals this year, Green Bay Packers fans can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them despite both teams battling for home field advantage in the NFC.
It seems the injury bug that plagued the Packers the past several seasons packed its bags and went west. The Cardinals are now down to their third quarterback with Drew Stanton goon down Thursday night after already losing Carson Palmer for the season.
Sound familiar? Yes, it sounds just like the Packers of 2013.
Which is exactly why Green Bay (and the rest of the NFC) should not count out the Cardinals, despite their situation at quarterback. Sure, they’re winning ugly but they’re winning. Bruce Arians has his team believing and has stolen a page right out of Mike McCarthy’s book on dealing with a short handed roster. Even though Packers fans have been through this before, it’s still impressive to watch.
There is something else about this Cardinals team that should bring back some memories for Green Bay: no one is giving them a chance once the playoffs start. If that sounds familiar, that harkens back to the Packers of 2010. Don’t forget, the Packers were incredibly beaten up at the time and while that season is special for obvious reasons, the Packers barely made the playoffs. Not many expected the run to Super Bowl XLV
Even when he was healthy Carson Palmer was no Aaron Rodgers, but he was having as good of a season as Rodgers had in 2010 before Palmer got hurt. Rodgers finished 2010 with 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Palmer had 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions when he tore his ACL.
When it comes to backup quarterbacks, Stanton is not quite Matt Flynn as far as putting up points, but he’s kept the team in games like Flynn did last season. If Stanton is out for a decent length of time, Ryan Lindley might prove to be Scott Tolzien (a project, but with potential) or Seneca Wallace (dumpster fire).
The similarities between the Cardinals of 2014 are eerily similar to what the Packers went through. Arizona might find a sympathetic ear in Green Bay, but rest assured the Packers aren’t going to feel COMPLETELY sorry for them.
Home field advantage is at stake and it’s crucial that the Packers secure it.
People should not be discounting the Cardinals so easily. Arians has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the NFL between his two seasons in Arizona and his stint as interim coach with the Indianapolis Colts. The quarterback play may be subpar but they still have a very good defense. Would Rodgers have his way with it?
Perhaps, but we might have to wait until the NFC Championship to find out.
Dismissing the Cardinals now would show Packers fans are oblivious to their own history. Don’t fall into that trap. The Packers had a blueprint in 2010 how to handle an injured roster and still win the Super Bowl. Having Rodgers helped, but the argument can be made the Cardinals’ 2014 defense is better than the 2010 Packers. If the Arizona defense can catch fire like Green Bay’s did late that Super Bowl season, they have a shot.
Consider it a “Cardinal” rule of the NFL playoffs: no team is truly done until the math says they are. If the Cardinals are still mathematically alive, they have a shot.
“For now I see through a glass darkly.” The Packers could find themselves uttering that Bible verse should they face Arizona in January.
The Cardinals have been a great story this season. Here’s hoping the Packers get to write the final chapter of it in the playoffs.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke