Burke Blotter: Don’t Dismiss the Arizona Cardinals

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.


12 thoughts on “Burke Blotter: Don’t Dismiss the Arizona Cardinals

  1. Disagree… Our system relies heavily on the qb, without Aaron you can stick a fork in us, we would be done. Arizona on the other hand, you could plug in any qb that doesn’t constantly turn the ball over, and win. Because of their defense. Green Bay doesn’t have that luxury. Our defense can’t win games, they can only keep us in the game. If we don’t put up 30 + points chances are we lose. Arizona puts up 12 and wins easily…

    1. Except that Packers did lose Rodgers for half a season. They barely squeezed into the playoffs, but they did get in.

      The Packers D may not be the best, you selling them too short. They have held several teams this year.

  2. The Cardinals have a great defense but they have faced weaker offensive teams than the Packers have. The Falcons put up 500 yards of offense on them and beat them. When the faced Denver they got lit up for 41 points. If the Packers see them in the playoffs I like GB’s chances.

  3. They (cardinals) looked like crap last night on TNF….another rotten thursday game….they don’t look very good to me….

    1. A rotten game? competitive … came down to the end … a defensive struggle … It was great to see a real football game again.

  4. The difference in last night was in one TD, which Rams did not know how to score… I see different game, if Packers has to meet them, but surely not blowout!

  5. Yes we can appreciate what Arizona is going through – but for the grace of God… But, I am counting them out. I love defensive ball and I wish we had a stud defense but you are not going to the top without a QB and an offense that can score points. They can stay competitive because of their defense but, against the good teams, they won’t be able to put teams away.

  6. Disagree Kris. I’d RATHER see AZ – even in AZ – in the playoffs than Seattle. IMO Seattle is the only team in the NFC that can beat us. I don’t know if they even can – but they’re the only team capable of it.

    I’m personally rooting for Seattle to beat AZ next week and to lose to the Rams the week after, while AZ feasts on SFs corpse. This, while GB and PHI win out. Then the seeding would work out like this:

    1 – GB
    2 – PHI
    3 – SEA
    4 – NO/ATL
    5 – AZ
    6 – DET/DAL

    That would ensure Seattle having to come to GB – after playing 2 playoff games (not 1). I DO NOT want to see SEA at GB in the divisional round.

    1. I agree with your sentiments, but I would like to see Seattle lose every remaining game. I suppose I should want to beat the best, but….

      1. Yeah. Me too – but that simply ain’t happening. I don’t think SEA can possibly lose to SF with how bad they are playing and the Rams in Seattle? Not likely.

        SEA would have to lose all 3 games. 🙁

  7. Stick a fork in the Cardinals. Why? Not because I want to, but because they will probably be playing with a 3rd string qb. Teams can survive some injuries, but not having to play a 3rd string QB.

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