Cardinals enter MNF matchup surrounded with big playoff implications

Dec 8, 2021, 2:47 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm
Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after his tackle against the Seattle Seahawks du...
Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after his tackle against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After ruling the roost for the majority of the season, the rest of the nation will get a chance to see the Arizona Cardinals front and center when they take on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

The looming meeting gives Arizona a chance to show those around the NFL it’s worthy of its top spot in the standings.

Added into the mix, the Cardinals have a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the NFC West to a near insurmountable mark with a victory over the 8-4 Rams, who sit second in the division. A win over Los Angeles would mean the Cardinals would need either one more victory or one Rams loss to secure the NFC West.

“Prime time, you’re the only game on TV and all eyes are on you,” wide receiver Christian Kirk said Wednesday. “It’s a big stage and obviously a lot of national recognition that comes with it. It’s just another opportunity for us to take the field and show how good of a team we are.”

The Cardinals aren’t oblivious to the upcoming national spotlight and being the bookend to the week of NFL action.

In fact, they’re looking forward to it.

“Just knowing that everyone’s probably watching on their couch, even the players across the league, not just the fans, but even the players across the league get an opportunity to watch,” Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones said Wednesday, while also referencing the game’s old theme song.

“I try to see Sunday Nights but a lot of times we’re traveling — but Monday Nights everyone’s home. Monday Night games are the games that I watch. I’m pretty sure across the league it’s gonna be fun to put on a show for those guys as well.”

Monday Night Football goes hand in hand with being center stage under the bright lights. It’s one of those games many pretended to play in the backyard as kids growing up.

It wasn’t a true MNF showdown back then without uttering — or at the very least thinking about — the words, “Are you ready for some football!?”

For head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Monday matchup takes him back to his days in the Lone Star State and a singer that was synonymous with the billing from 1989 until 2011.

“I’m from Texas, so probably Hank Williams (Jr.),” Kingsbury said when asked what came to mind when thinking about Monday Night Football.

“He sang the song, right? That was it. It’s probably because I’m from Texas and know who that is.”

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