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Crucial Matchup With Bills

Cards focused on Buffalo, but difficult schedule coming up


The Cardinals, who will wear black again Sunday, face a crucial game against the Bills.

When the Cardinals' 2012 schedule was released in April, Patrick Peterson took one look at who was on it and put it away.

At the time, only the Seattle Seahawks, the Cardinals' first opponent, mattered. After a win in Week 1, only New England mattered. On down the schedule it went, for five weeks.

In a league with only 16 games in a season, a team can't afford to get caught glancing down the road. Each win is just as valuable as the last. Each game is equally important.

The Cardinals are no different.

Since losing to the St. Louis Rams last Thursday, the Cardinals have spent 10 days planning and prepping for the Buffalo Bills, who come to University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday.

And while each game is important in its own right, this game packs extra weight. The Cardinals are looking to rebound from their first loss of the season and after the Bills, they enter the heart of the order with games at Minnesota, San Francisco on a Monday night, at Green Bay and at Atlanta.

"We got to take care of business this week," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "This is a must-win for us."

While a win will boost the Cardinals' confidence and their standing in the NFC, the momentum a win could provide can propel them through the most dangerous stretch of the schedule.

"It's just more a mental comfort, knowing that what you're doing Monday through Saturday is working," center Lyle Sendlein said. "It gets frustrating when you work real hard during the week and you don't have success."

As Fitzgerald's grandfather once told him, let a sleeping dog lie. The Cardinals don't want to wake the Bills, who have struggled to move the ball in back-to-back losses to the Patriots and the 49ers.

But all week, the Cardinals have talked about the Bills' explosiveness despite Buffalo's 2-3 record, especially when the Bills spread the field, giving receivers such as receiver Stevie Johnson the ability to create in space, strong safety Adrian Wilson said.

"You definitely can't let the record fool," Peterson said. "We have been giving up a lot of explosive plays in the last two weeks. We have to do a better job this week of paying attention to the details and preventing those long passes so we won't be in the type of situation that we were in last weekend and the weekend before."

After starting the season playing four of their first six at home, culminating with Sunday's battle, the Cardinals hit the road for five of the next seven.

The Cardinals, however, aren't paying attention to any of that. They're taking the games as they come and won't look past the Bills.

As Wilson said this week, the Cardinals aren't getting anxious to get play again. But they're ready.

"It's been a long week," he said. "A long 10 days. To get back on the field is going to be good for us."

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