Cold weather Cards: Arizona not overly concerned with Chicago forecast
TEMPE — Football in December, a time where the temperatures drop and the intensity amps up.
At some point or another, teams will be faced with the test of navigating not only tough weather conditions, but their opponent on top of that.
For the Arizona Cardinals, their first real taste of the changing seasons comes against the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
It might have been 40 degrees in their Week 11 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, but that’s nothing compared to Soldier Field and the expected 40-degree weather paired with 16-mph winds and a 46% chance of rain at kickoff.
“Everybody has got to play outside in December football,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. “We played in Seattle our last game, and I think it was in the 40s. So, we know it will be colder than we’re used to, but that’s part of playing in this league.”
If you ask any of the Cardinals players, they aren’t too worried about the environment in the Windy City, except for maybe which cleats to use.
For some like Devon Kennard and James Conner, having just one or so games in inclement weather is an easy trade-off after having played on the East Coast for parts of their careers. Kennard, while an Arizona native, spent the first four years of his career in New York with the Giants. Conner is no stranger to the cold, having played college ball at Pittsburgh before a four-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I just got to bring it, it’s gonna be one of them games,” Conner said Tuesday. “Cold weather, I’m used to it. Been there, done that, so it’s just another opportunity. That’s all we’re looking at it as.
“I’ll try to be as physical as I can be out there and get us going, get the juice going in the run game and hopefully that’ll get the team going. But just got to bring it. Just another game.”
The Cardinals are taking things one week at a time, and rightfully so. But there’s a real possibility that the matchup in Chicago could be Arizona’s toughest test against the elements in all of 2021.
After the Bears, the Cardinals have just two more road games against the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, two teams that play indoors.
If the Cardinals can come out of the NFC as the No. 1 seed, they would lock up playing indoors throughout the postseason, with the Super Bowl set for L.A. On the flip side, losing out on the top spot could mean a trip to Lambeau Field in a rematch with the Green Bay Packers.
Yes, Arizona’s two losses have come indoors, and at home no less, but if there’s a way to take any kind of variables out down the stretch, the Cardinals will gladly take it. A chilly win in Chicago helps their cause.