Once, in what seems like a lifetime ago, the Cardinals played in Detroit, won a game, and clinched the NFC West title on the same day.
OK, the Cards needed the 49ers to lose that day as well for it to happen in 2009, and when the pilot announced that's exactly what happened while the Cards were en route back, it was the first and only time I've been around a t-shirt-and-hat plane ride.
The Cardinals can't clinch the division Sunday, but they can clinch a playoff spot in Detroit with a win. It feels necessary. The Lions are crushed with Covid, they are missing their best pass catcher and top running back, and they have one win.
I like how Kyler Murray is approaching this. He is leading. He is staying positive. He noted earlier this week he doesn't shy away from being mad or sad and that's not where he is at the moment. Because yes, a team can subsist on great quarterbacking alone, but great quarterbacking is a must if the Cardinals truly want to make a playoff run.
That starts against the Lions. Kyler made two interceptions he'd like back. He's been careful with the football on the road. To me, even with Chase Edmonds likely coming back and James Conner playing, this game offensively starts with Murray. This feels like one of those games where he ends up in Player of the Week conversation.
With a short week and then a home game against the Colts on Christmas, the Cardinals and Murray just need to clinch that playoff spot, jump back on that new plane, and come home.
-- Three NFL games for this weekend have been pushed back to Monday and Tuesday dates because teams in each of the three games have been hella-crushed by Covid positives. I don't claim to know the answers of what is best, but clearly, no one expected this crazy contagious strain. Over the last five days, 151 players landed on the Covid list (although according to the league, the vast majority are asymptomatic.)
"You're definitely paying more attention to those emails when they are coming through and seeing where it's at," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "It feels like every team is going to have a wave come through, you just don't know when it's going to be. It's unfortunate, but everyone is dealing with it."
The Cardinals have only one player on the Covid list right now – center Rodney Hudson. We will see how that goes.
-- With all the injuries this week – wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and cornerback Robert Alford the most troubling – it wasn't exciting to see tight end Zach Ertz pop up on the injury report Friday with a hamstring issue. My guess is he will be fine, but with Hopkins down, you need Ertz in the lineup.
-- New Lions coach Dan Campbell is having a rough first season. Given all the noise that came around the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury back in 2019, it's easy to forget the Campbell was one of the candidates interviewed for the job left vacant when Steve Wilks was fired.
-- There has been a lot of chatter in the wake of the D-Hop injury of Larry Fitzgerald. I don't see it now, just like I didn't see his return before. For one, I don't see Fitz wanting to go through the circus of a return, especially since he didn't want to make a big deal of retiring in the first place (which is one reason everything has been so vague with him). Second, I don't see where he would fit. He's not going to play outside where Hopkins was. Inside, the Cardinals have Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore.
-- The Cardinals would tie the 2005 Seahawks and the 2019 Saints if they can make it through their sixth straight road game without a turnover Sunday.
-- Last word comes from Kirk, who was talking about the confidence he has in Wesley:
"We've seen this since training camp, just his approach and how he attacked every day," Kirk said. "The big thing about Antoine, he always has positive energy, approaches each day with a positive mindset and always takes advantage of the opportunity to just sit and learn behind DeAndre first-hand."
See you Sunday.