So in the end, did the Cardinals get what they wanted?
Not that it matters, because the results are what they are. The Cardinals – 8-1 on the road this season, a disappointing 3-5 at State Farm Stadium, after closing out the year dropping five straight there, including Sunday's 38-30 loss to the Seahawks – are going on the road for the playoffs.
It's Los Angeles, the place where they jump-started their season with a huge win, to play the Rams, the same team that, between knocking them off on a Monday night and injuring wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, also seemed to start the Cardinals on a late-season slide.
Daunting, yes. It seemed like a road game was going to be in Dallas – also a place where the Cardinals won – but the 49ers provided the Cardinals the favor of beating the Rams, opening the door for the Cards to win the NFC West. That would've meant a home playoff game against the Niners. Instead, it's the road – and even the Cardinals had to admit that might be for the best.
"At this point I feel like maybe," quarterback Kyler Murray said. "It's another opportunity that I'm excited for, I haven't played in the playoffs since I've been in the league. We haven't been to the playoffs in I don't know how long, so it's an opportunity for this team to go do something special."
They seem like they could (although Hopkins would look really good right now.) It'll be under the bright lights of "Monday Night Football." Yes, I know the Cards are 0-3 this season in primetime games, but all of those games – Packers, Rams, Colts – were at home.
"I feel like when we play our best football we can beat anyone," tight end Zach Ertz said.
That's been said a lot this season. Early on when all was good, and later when it wasn't. The Cardinals better play their best now. They're out of time otherwise.
-- Props to Twitter follower Derek who pointed out to me that the Monday night playoff game has to be a 4/5 matchup, because any other game completely changes the following week's matchups depending on the winner since the lower seed plays at the higher seed. This way, the NFC will know of the No. 6 49ers or the No. 7 Eagles will have won their games, and if the winner of Cardinals/Rams will maybe go to Green Bay or Tampa. (There are still a bunch of possibilities; if both the Eagles and Niners win, the Cardinals could host a second-round game.)
-- It feels like it was forever ago already, but Chandler Jones' strip-sack to start the game was a Jones classic. It gave him 10½ sacks on the season. But Jones played little in the second half, and we'll see if that is injury related or they just wanted to keep his work to a minimum and prevent any kind of injury. UPDATE: Maybe I just missed him, because Jones played 50 of 58 defensive snaps.
-- Speaking of injuries, James Conner has been so good this season and you have to hope he and Chase Edmonds are ready for next week. You can say what you want, but an offense devoid of Hop and Conner and Edmonds is not the same offense.
The Cardinals had drives of 19, 14 and 14 plays that ended with field goals. The 19-play drive ended with a 41-yard field goal and never even reached the red zone. That combo gave me a true Ron Burgundy reaction, like when his dog ate the wheel of cheese.
-- I don't know if J.J. Watt will come back next week. My guess is the Cardinals will try to keep it a mystery. Zach Allen won't be saying, that's for sure. Allen already said last week Watt was working hard, and he heard about it.
"Obviously his numbers and the way he was playing speak for themselves," Allen said, "but again, I've been told to shut my mouth so I'm not going to say anything."
Did Watt tell you that, Zach? "I'm not going to get into it," Allen said with a chuckle.
-- The Cardinals finally lost another fumble Sunday. It took Andy Lee two fumbles to do it. (Yes, that was a wacky play. It looked like Lee intentionally dropped the ball to avoid a punt block, but when he went to pick it back up and kick, he couldn't get a handle on it and everything went to hell.)
But this season, the Cardinals fumbled the ball 30 times, and only lost it four times. That's wheel-of-cheese incredible too.
-- It was a tough spot to be in for cornerback Breon Borders. Having the Cardinals' sixth cornerback trying to cover DK Metcalf much of the time was tough. Or Tyler Lockett. The hope is that Marco Wilson can play next week, and I also expect Bashaud Breeland to be up to speed enough to be active for that playoff game too.
-- Christian Kirk finished with 77 catches for 982 yards, just short of 1,000. Kyler Murray finished with a 100 passer rating (100.5), but he fell just short of 70 percent completions (69.2) and less than 3,800 yards, which is a surprise (although he missed three games.)
-- Zach Ertz came oh so close to setting the franchise record for catches in a season for a tight end. He had seven more grabs Sunday, bringing his total in 11 games with the Cardinals to 56 – tying Jackie Smith's season mark.
"I've said it all along throughout my career, when I'm in the moment I don't focus on what's going on," Ertz said. "It's always, how can I be better, how can I improve? When I am done playing can be a time of reflection."
Ertz did say any record is about how his teammates helped him get there. It'll take that kind of teamwork to make sure the season goes for more than just one more week.
That's plenty for tonight. Time to go home.