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Cardinals Ready To Lock Up Playoff Berth

With win in Detroit, team would clinch postseason spot

Jordan Hicks and the Cardinals will play the Lions in Detroit Sunday with a chance to clinch a playoff spot.
Jordan Hicks and the Cardinals will play the Lions in Detroit Sunday with a chance to clinch a playoff spot.

A.J. Green has not experienced the postseason since 2015, when Cincinnati lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC Wild Card round.

The Cardinals made a run the same year before losing to Carolina in the NFC Championship.

Both have since failed to return to the playoffs.

Ahead of the Cardinals' matchup with the Lions (1-11-1) Sunday, that could change. Through 14 weeks, the Cardinals (10-3) are tied with Green Bay and Tampa Bay for the best record in the league. With a victory, both Green and the Cardinals will return to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

"It's what you play for," the wide receiver said. "I've been playing in this league for a long time, the first five years I went to the playoffs, I'm like 'Oh, this is easy, and this is going to happen every year.' Then after that, it didn't happen very much.

"Coming here, man, it's been a blessing. Like I've been telling people, I'm on my back nine, and it's just a pleasure to go out there and play at a high level. I'm just enjoying every moment of it."

But Green noted making the playoffs is not the end goal. The Cardinals know they can play at a high level come playoff time. Their focus is on the bigger picture: reaching the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history.

To get there, the Cards need to fix the issues they had in Monday night's loss to the Rams.

"I think we want to improve upon last week," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "None of us was happy with that result – though the effort was outstanding – we have to play a lot cleaner. I think that's been our focus all week, and hopefully, we do that on Sunday."

The odds certainly favor the Cardinals. The Cardinals have been historically good on the road this season with a 7-0 record, all by double digits. With another road victory on Sunday, the Cardinals will become the 10th team in NFL history to win eight road games in a single season while also establishing a new franchise record.

The Lions own the worst record in the league and rank among the league's worst in several categories on offense and defense. They are led by quarterback Jared Goff, who in his previous tenure with the Rams had a passer rating of 103.0 with 2,239 yards, 11 touchdowns, and three interceptions in eight games against the Cardinals.

"Looking at them on film, those guys play hard," linebacker Markus Golden said. "You wouldn't think they play as hard as they do because their record says they're losing a lot. But you can tell they're trying to win out there.

"You got Jared Goff; we're familiar with him. He plays the same and looks even better in the pocket, especially in making big throws under pressure. They play like a team that wins a lot."

Images of the Cardinals Cheerleaders from our Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football

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