The Cardinals enter Week 17 with the fifth seed in the conference, looking to secure an 11-5 record Sunday when they face the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Cardinals can move a step closer toward regaining the NFC West lead with a victory.
Ahead of the matchup, here are five Cardinals to watch for in this week's spotlight.
The last time Kirk faced the Cowboys, the wideout had 86 yards and two touchdowns in the "Monday Night Football" victory last season. Since Kirk has been among Kyler Murray's most targeted receivers after losing DeAndre Hopkins for the season, he will have the opportunity to produce similar numbers this time. But Kirk might end up matched against Cowboys cornerback and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Trevon Diggs, who leads the NFL in interceptions (11).
With a touchdown (of any kind), Kirk would have TDs in each of the five games played at AT&T Stadium dating back to his time at Texas A&M.
With a TD reception, Kirk would tie his career-high (6 in 2020).
With nine catches, Kirk would have 237 receptions in his career. That would represent the fifth-best total in franchise history in a player's first four seasons behind only Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Frank Sanders, and David Boston.
Hudson should return Sunday after missing the previous two games with Covid, and his comeback could not have come at a better time. Hudson has allowed one sack and fewer than five quarterback pressures this season. The Cowboys' defense has 37 sacks on the year, tied for 10th in the NFL.
The Cardinals will need the cornerback Sunday against the Cowboys' deep receiving core with Robert Alford and Marco Wilson sidelined with injuries. Hamilton will likely spend time on CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. Lamb leads the team in receptions (74), yards (1006), average yards per catch (13.6), and yards per game (71.9). Cooper leads the team in touchdowns with seven.
The safety was everywhere last week, including blitzing the quarterback and helping the run defense make stops. Baker will need to do the same Sunday against the Cowboys' offense, one of the best in the NFL. Baker's ability to help contain rushers Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, alongside getting pressure on quarterback Dak Prescott will be necessary for the Cardinals to pick up the victory.
Garcia was solid last week despite a couple of bad snaps, earning a 73.6 Pro Football Focus Grade – the second highest on offense. The Cardinals will need the same production from Garcia against one of the NFL's better defenses, sported by linebacker Micah Parsons and defensive end Randy Gregory – team leaders in sacks this season. If Hudson is back, Garcia will likely play guard. No Hudson, and Garcia will remain at center.
Images of the top Cardinals in the spotlight against the Colts: CB Antonio Hamilton, S Budda Baker, WR Christian Kirk, G Max Garcia and C Rodney Hudson