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With Playoffs Here, Cardinals Can Only Look Ahead

Regular season now becomes moot with Wild Card game against Rams next


Any questions surrounding the close of the Cardinals' regular season don't matter.

Any speculation following Sunday's loss to Seattle – which cost them an NFC West title – is not worth hearing.

The Cardinals' upcoming NFC Wild Card matchup with the Rams at SoFi Stadium is the only concern for the organization.

"I think our guys understand that we have an opportunity to play a division opponent to advance in the playoffs," coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. "We're very familiar with them, and they are with us.

"We know it will be a dog fight. I don't think anyone is sitting around worrying about what happened yesterday. We know what's out in front of us; our focus is about moving forward."

Since the matchup is on Monday, everything in the Cardinals' schedule shifted back a day. Kingsbury believes an extra day will be an advantage with key players on the roster dealing with injuries. Running back James Conner is still being evaluated for a ribs injury he suffered Sunday against Seattle, Kingsbury said.

The hope is that cornerback Marco Wilson can return after missing time with a shoulder injury, as well as Kevin Peterson, who suffered a concussion on Sunday. Practice-squad veteran Bashaud Breeland is still learning the defense after signing with the Cardinals last week, but Kingsbury said the hope is for the cornerback to play on Monday.

This will be the third matchup between the teams this season. Arizona won the first meeting in Week 4 at SoFi Stadium, 37-20, and Los Angeles returned the favor in Week 14 at State Farm Stadium, 30-23.

"The interesting thing is having two game films of your own to watch and see your formation and how they adjust to that nature," Kingsbury said. "One difference is personnel changes with injuries this late in the season and things of that nature.

"It's different mismatches you're looking for that weren't there previously. But I like that we had two games to see how we played them, how they played us, and what looked good and didn't. So, we can build off that."

The meeting will be the Cardinals' first postseason game in the Kyler Murray and Kingsbury era. Next week will also be the first playoff appearance for others like safety Budda Baker.

But none of that matters to Kingsbury. His message to the team before the matchup is simple: embrace the challenge.

"It's 0-and-0, and no one remembers the regular season," Kingsbury said. "It's what you do here on out, and it's a real opportunity for us to take the next step and see how good we can be."


The Cardinals activated linebacker Tanner Vallejo Monday from the Covid list. The also released defensive lineman Zach Kerr from the active roster and linebacker Nate Hall from the practice squad.