Now the Cardinals and coach Ken Whisenhunt have to figure out what’s next.
Sunday’s confluence of events – the Cards’ win in Detroit, coupled with the 49ers’ loss in Philadelphia – put Arizona in the playoffs for a second straight season. Two games remain – home games against St. Louis and Green Bay – and Whisenhunt has choices to make.
Does he pull back with some of his veteran players? Will he fight hard against the Packers, especially when there is a possibility the Packers will play the Cards a week later in the first round of the playoffs? What about getting the No. 2 seed? Or the No. 3 seed? What’s the balance between being ready and being rested for the postseason?
“There is so much stuff up in the air,” Whisenhunt said. “I think you have to approach it one week at a time. The only thing I know for sure is a win doesn’t hurt us.”
Whisenhunt said the Cards will be smart with injured players in “the gray area.” But those players seem to be few. Left tackle
Otherwise, there isn’t going to be some mass benching.
“We are going to play our players,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s important because we do have something at stake.”
One player Whisenhunt addressed specifically was quarterback
Warner isn’t a player who wants to sit much, especially when the offense isn’t in sync. After more than a month on a hot streak, Warner’s performances the past two games haven’t been at that level. Whisenhunt isn’t worried about the passing game because of the experience between quarterback, receivers and offensive line.
“We have to continue to get better and get polished up,” Warner said. “Sometimes it’s not as easy as you want it to be.”
There are also things to play for in terms of seeding, however unlikely some might be.
With two games left, the Cards would host the Packers in the first round and be the No. 4 seed in the NFC. Much could change. If the Vikings lose their final two games (at Chicago, home against the Giants) and the Cards win out, the Cards would actually be the No. 2 seed and get a bye.
But if the Cards end up tied for the No. 2 spot with the Vikings and the Eagles or the Vikings and the Cowboys, things would change. A tiebreaker between the Eagles and Cards would likely end up in Philadelphia’s favor, should the teams tie for the No. 3 and 4 seeds.
Not that it matters to Whisenhunt right now. So much can shift just after this coming penultimate regular-season weekend.
“You go crazy trying to figure out scenarios,” Whisenhunt said.
“In the end we control our own destiny and that’s what is most important,” defensive lineman
Whisenhunt said linebacker