Things just got a little tougher for the Arizona Cardinals.
Mired in a five-game losing streak, the Cards will now have to face an angry Atlanta Falcons contingent in Atlanta this Sunday. Why will the Falcons be angry? Their undefeated season just went up in smoke at the hands of the rejuvenated New Orleans Saints, 31-27 Sunday in the Superdome.
The reeling Red Birds be facing an extremely talented squad that will look to get back on track as quickly as possible. The Saints loss stung. That's a huge rivalry in the deep South. Don't forget the Falcons are the leaders presently for the number one seed in the NFC with their 8-1 ledger and do not want to come down off their perch. Although Arizona has had a week off to heal and regroup, Atlanta will most likely be double-digit favorites come Sunday. Deservedly so.
It's a tough spot for the 4-5 Cardinals but I'm sure they're looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of them. Sure they'd like to knock off the top dog (should I say bird) in the conference but Ken Whisenhunt's team just needs a win – any type of win – to even their record and get their confidence back again. The Cards have hit the ice burg and are sinking fast. Hopefully the bye week has given the Red Birds a chance to exhale a little bit and gear up for a second half playoff run.
It all starts Sunday in Atlanta vs. Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez…..you know what I mean. The list goes on and on. Each one of those players is having a Pro Bowl caliber season. No one said it was going to be easy. It rarely is.
Can the Cardinals knock off the Falcons? Sure but they'll need to get much improved play from one of the worst offensive lines in football. They'll need to get some semblance of a running game going behind LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell. They'll need improved play from quarterback John Skelton (and some time for him to throw wouldn't hurt either).
Arizona's four victories this season have come mostly because of their defense and special teams. Those units are starting to show some holes. They can't do it by themselves. It's time for the offense to pitch in and do their share. It's time for a new beginning to what once was a hopeful, potentially magical season. 4-0 seems like a long time ago now doesn't it?
It's not too late. Not yet. But remember what Yogi Berra once said – "It gets late early around here".
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