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'Twas The Friday Before The Colts

'Twas the day before Christmas and the eve of the Colts game,

When the Cardinals could again mark "playoffs" by their name; (1)

Chandler Jones helped the message through a show of hands,

That playoffs are an opportunity, not just for players but fans; (2)

The offense and Kyler Murray must find their way back,

No turnovers, some passing touchdowns would get them on track; (3)

Jonathan Taylor provides the defense a frightening test,

But to make a playoff run, the Cardinals must learn to stop the best; (4)

Speaking of backs, there is question about James Conner,

Although with Chase Edmonds to run, the Colts must still honor; (5)

It seems as if Rodney Hudson won't be there to snap,

But Quenton Nelson also has Covid, leaving a similar gap; (6)

Hop remains absent, and perhaps Moore might be too,

But Kirk's having his best year while Isabella could come into view; (7)

The Colts have worked hard to make their own playoff potential,

The Cardinals know a fast start and big energy is a game essential; (8)

If you're not there live, it'll be shown on NFL Network,

(although if you're local, Fox 10 will provide the same perk);

What's this, golf clubs as gifts for the O-linemen, courtesy of the QB?

Kyler Murray has always been elite with what he'd put under the tree; (9)

But if we are talking presents for all on this holiday night,

There is only one result that will make it all right;

A victory over the Colts that could change the narrative,

To bring the season to where it once was, or least comparative; (10)

And maybe hear Budda, with the scoreboard in sight,

"On to the playoffs, it's been a wonderful night."

  1. It's a simple equation, really. The Cardinals win and they are in. Of course, that's been said a couple of weeks now. Even if the Cardinals were to lose, they should clinch a playoff spot this weekend; once the 49ers lost Thursday night, if any of three teams loses – the Eagles (versus the Giants), the Vikings (versus the Rams) or the Saints (versus the red-hot Dolphins) – the Cardinals are guaranteed to be in the postseason. (And yes, the Cardinals want to just win and not back in. But that doesn't change the facts.)
  2. It was interesting to hear Chandler Jones talk about getting real with teammates about the opportunity the team has, how the team will change next year and how you never know if you'll have a chance like this again. After all, Jones came to a team in 2016 that everyone assumed would be a Super Bowl contender and instead, they failed to make the playoffs. This is what all this leadership is supposed to do, get a team out of the ditch they'd ended up in right now.
  3. Kyler Murray played well in his first game back, at Chicago. He was solid against the Rams except for two bad interceptions. Last week, he was bad, but all the Cardinals were. Those days will happen. But the Cardinals need that Murray who was leading the league in passer rating and completion percentage and in the MVP talk. Perhaps no part of the team needs it more than the defense, which plainly operates so much better in the lead – a lead the Cardinals' offense has been able to give them much of the year. "We've got to have the defense's back. They have to have ours," Murray said. "It's complementary football, the best teams do it. I'm not really worried about (Detroit). I think every team has that day, unfortunately ours was last weekend. We felt like we should have won. It's about how you respond, and I know the guys will."
  4. No, you probably can't stop Jonathan Taylor. But you can't let him control the game. Getting a lead is the best way to this.
  5. I think James Conner plays with his bad heel. If not, Chase Edmonds has to be what Conner was all those weeks when Edmonds was out.
  6. Even if Rodney Hudson tested out of the Covid list, we have no idea how this has affected him, and at this point, I didn't expect him to play. I'd guess Max Garcia will be at center again. But the Colts offensive line is missing key guys too. Not only did all-everything Nelson land on the Covid list – a huge loss – but starting center Ryan Kelly is out too, as is guard Mark Glowinski.
  7. If Rondale Moore can't play, is this a game where Andy Isabella gets a target or two? Will be fascinating to watch. If not then, then never.
  8. There seemed to be some discrepancy between players and coaches about being flat/not having "juice" early last week against the Lions. This is a national TV game, and with it being Christmas, I expect almost all Cardinals fans. If the Cardinals can't get up for this one …
  9. Kyler Murray gave his offensive linemen custom golf clubs and a golf bag (and some alcohol, he said with a smile) for Christmas. He's been excellent and thoughtful every year with his OL Christmas gift. "If I'm going to give a gift to somebody, I feel like you got to do a good job," Murray said. "I take pride in giving gifts to the people that I do give gifts to. You never want to be the guy that gives a bad gift."
  10. Not sure how this one is going to go, but I find it hard to believe the Cardinals don't rebound strongly from last week. That wasn't this team. Most teams have a couple games like that. The Cards are too good to have it happen again. If Kyler takes care of the ball, I like their chances.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas/happy holidays. See you Saturday.

RB James Conner and QB Kyler Murray in the tunnel before a road game in Detroit in 2021