Car­di­nals have mo­men­tum, but play­off chances slim

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Tempe, Ari­zona

It's be­ing called the big­gest vic­tory for the Ari­zona Car­di­nals since Kurt Warner's near- per­fect per­for­mance against Green Bay in the play­offs four years ago. Sun­day's 17- 10 stun­ner over the Sea­hawks in Seat­tle gave the Car­di­nals their sec­ond 10-win sea­son since the fran­chise moved Ari­zona in 1988. A vic­tory at home over San Fran­cisco on Sun­day would tie the fran­chise record for regular-sea­son wins.

But there's a high prob­a­bil­ity it won't be enough to get first-year coach Bruce Ari­ans' team into the play­offs, and that the Car­di­nals will be­come the sec­ond 11-5 team to miss the post­sea­son since the NFL went to the divi­sion for­mat in 2002.

The other was New Eng­land in 2008, when the Pa­tri­ots routed Ari­zona 47-7 just be­fore Christ­mas, then watched the 9-7 Car­di­nals make an im­prob­a­ble run to the Su­per Bowl.

Now Ari­zona could be the good team on the out­side look­ing in, even as an 8- 8 team might make the play­offs in the AFC.

“It's not in our con­trol,” Ari­ans said on Mon­day. “I want to be 11-5 and let the chips fall. There is some joy in that. If we are watch­ing the play­offs, we are watch­ing a bunch of teams we beat. That's a lit­tle bit sour.”

Asked if an 11-win sea­son will bring him any sat­is­fac­tion if there's no play­offs, Ari­ans said: “Not re­ally, be­cause it's all about the ring.

“You want to get to the dance. (An 11-5 record) will be nice. It's a nice foun­da­tion, but I'm re­ally not about that stuff.

“We play to get in the play­offs and win the cham­pi­onship. It would be a shame, but that's the way it is.”

Af­ter San Fran­cisco's vic­tory over At­lanta on Mon­day night, the Car­di­nals have one pos­si­ble, though un­likely, route to the post­sea­son. Ari­zona needs to beat the 49ers at home on Sun­day and have New Or­leans lose at home to Tampa.

The win ove r t he Sea­hawks ended Seat­tle's 14- game home win­ning streak. Quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son hadn't lost a home game since his ju­nior sea­son at North Carolina State, be­fore he trans­ferred to Wis­con­sin.

Ari­ans says the Car­di­nals are play­ing as well as any team in the league.

“I don't think too many teams want to see us in the play­offs, es­pe­cially the way our de­fense is play­ing right now,” he said.

“I would feel very con­fi­dent go­ing any­where in this Na­tional Foot­ball League, play­ing anybody.”

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