ARIZONA CARDINALS

Stumbling Cardinals see playoff odds slipping entering final quarter of 2020

Dec 6, 2020, 8:52 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2020, 11:25 am
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 during t...
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson maintains that his team is not a .500 football team.

Twelve games into the season, however, that’s the reality.

The Cardinals (6-6) remain searching for answers after a 38-28 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium.

“It’s hard to put a finger on it,” Peterson said when asked why Arizona’s 5-2 start has been followed by a 1-4 record. “It’s just those key situations that I believe is our Achilles heel right now. Have to find ways and execute.”

They’re running out of time to find solutions.

The internal message from head coach Kliff Kingsbury is about keeping the attention on internal improvement with so many potential outcomes for the final Wild Card spots.

“We have a month left guaranteed and anything can happen,” Kingsbury said. “I thought we had a good week of practice. Our guys played hard today. We didn’t always execute at the highest level that we can, but we have good leadership. Guys are going to continue to work hard.”

As of Sunday night, the Cardinals have a 35% chance of making the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight. A loss next week to the New York Giants, who beat the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, would slice those odds in half.

While the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday to surpass Arizona for the final NFC Wild Card spot (Minnesota holds a tiebreaker over Arizona with a better record against common opponents), the Detroit Lions’ win over the Chicago Bears evened those teams at 5-7.

A San Francisco 49ers win against the Buffalo Bills on Monday at State Farm Stadium could also even the 49ers with Arizona record-wise.

For the Cardinals entering the final four games of the year, problems have only been identified in general terms.

“Not sure, I’m not sure,” offensive tackle D.J. Humphries said of the 1-4 stretch. “From my perspective of me doing my job, I think it’s just the little things.

“I don’t think it’s a science to it or anything like that. It’s just us locking in and getting our job done.”

Quarterback Kyler Murray, like Peterson, said that failure to execute in key moments continues to challenge the Cardinals.

“We’ve been in pretty much every single game that we’ve lost. Little mistakes here and there, turnovers, penalties, stuff like that, not playing complementary football, that gets you beat. That’s kind of just who we are right now. Just not finding a way,” he said.

Kingsbury added that “critical situations rise up and we’re not always handling them the best way.”

Those include key third downs on both sides of the ball and a sputtering offense that is too cold to overcome things when it finally gets hot.

The Rams on Sunday converted 9-of-15 third downs while holding Arizona to 4-of-12. When the Cardinals got within three points twice, Los Angeles answered with a pair of 75-plus-yard touchdown drives.

“In this last month that we are guaranteed, we have to really look at that and examine how do we get better in those moments,” Kingsbury said.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Sam Graveline

PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals head into training camp expecting to have healthy competition at a handful of positions, including at tight end.
24 hours ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after beating the Houston Texans 31-5...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner: The timeframe of Kyler Murray’s contract extension

We haven't heard much lately when it comes down to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and a contract extension. When will a new deal get done?
24 hours ago
Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a defensive play during the first half against...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals LB Markus Golden among players with best team-friendly deals

Arizona Cardinals LB Markus Golden's contract cracked PFF analyst Brad Spielberger's top team-friendly deals ranking.
24 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray (1) participates during the team's NFL football practice, Wednesday...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray among top 5 QBs in multiple PFF passing metrics

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray's accuracy was on point in 2021, especially when looking at deep throws.
4 days ago
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons #9 during the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals an...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Renner: Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons a breakout candidate in Year 3

Cardinals' inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons was named a potential year three breakout candidate by PFF's Michael Renner.
3 days ago
Rodney Hudson #61 of the Arizona Cardinals in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Tita...
Wills Rice

Former Cardinals C A.Q. Shipley thinks offense needs to find identity

"For (Kyler) the next step is just grabbing everyone around him, whether he just needs one play and everyone will look to him," Shipley said.
4 days ago
Stumbling Cardinals see playoff odds slipping entering final quarter of 2020