Is it time for the Arizona Cardinals to hit the panic button as they face the challenge of salvaging their season?
After an embarrassing and demoralizing 10:38 primetime loss to a division rival, the Arizona Cardinals are officially in a panic as they can’t afford to lose another game. A playoff appearance is still a reality, but they would most likely need to win the rest of their remaining games just to be in the hunt for a wildcard.
Currently sitting third in the NFC West, it will be difficult for the Cardinals to catch up in the division with only one divisional matchup remaining, a date with the 49ers on the last day of regular play of the season. The question is will this be a game worth making or will the Cardinals just be playing for pride at this point?
The Cardinals’ next two games will be played at State Farm Stadium, but the home field wasn’t a huge advantage as they have a 1-4 record at home. Next up for the Cardinals is the Los Angeles Chargers, who have a young rising star in quarterback Justin Herbert, and this matchup doesn’t bode well for the secondary as the Chargers have the sixth best passing offense in the league in terms of mileage .
Arizona Cardinals fights require the panic button
The Cardinals linebackers struggled to track running back Christian McCaffrey, who came from the backfield as he compiled 67 yards through the air with seven catches when he was targeted seven times. The Cardinals will face another dynamic pass-catching threat in RB Austin Ekeler, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph needs to figure out how to limit big plays.
Corresponding StatMuse.com, Ekeler has had the most yards in receptions by a running back since 2021 with 1,084. Joseph may have to ask linebacker Isaiah Simmons to shadow Ekeler and try to limit his production to passing games.
The Cardinals’ secondary school has been atrocious, to say the least, as they have allowed the third most passing yards in the NFL. They only allowed 228 yards through the air against the 49ers, but it was the big plays that killed them.
Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle combined for six catches, but four of those six were on touchdowns. The Cardinals have sorely missed Byron Murphy Jr., who is by far their best cover corner and missed the last two games with an ongoing back injury, but hopefully he can dress as they have their hands full defending wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
It remains a mystery whether quarterback Kyler Murray can play against the Chargers due to his lack of a legitimate rushing offense needing him. Murray is currently leading the team in rushing yards, not an ideal situation for the Cardinals.
Murray is currently seventh in that category among his peers at the quarterback position and was a win in that regard considering the underperforming running backs on the roster. The Arizona Cardinals game plan needs to work because it’s time to panic.
A lot will happen in this next game for both players and coaches, and changes will come sooner rather than later. You went into the season with high expectations and you fell a long way behind.
The Cardinals expect Murray and wide receiver Marquis “Hollywood” Brown to take on the Chargers, which will benefit them as they will need all hands on deck as this is sort of a playoff game for them. If the Cardinals can get over the excitement, they can continue their quest to qualify for the postseason. If they lose this game, we can expect the soap opera to begin as there is sure to be a lot of change in the desert.
(Stats from Pro Football Reference and Stat Muse)
Do you want your voice to be heard? Join the Raising Zona team!
Write for us!