The Arizona Cardinals got hammered by the Giants, dismembered by the Eagles, and just plain embarrassed by the Vikings. In between, they clinched the NFC West, guaranteeing themselves a home playoff game on the first weekend in January. It would be nice to go into the playoffs with momentum, and a win over New England would certainly give the Cardinals cred. But if they can just pull themselves together and grab that playoff win, wouldn't you trade it in a heartbeat for a 5-0 record against the Giants, Eagles, Vikes, Pats, and Sehawks (their last regular-season opponent)?
Of course you would.
Anyhow, the forecast is grim, and we're not just talking about the weather, though we'll start there:
Highs in the mid-'30s, with an 80 percent chance of a rain/snow mix. Sweet.
The Cardinals rank 32nd in the NFL in rushing, meaning QB Kurt Warner's gonna be hurling sleet-covered boulders all day long.
The Cardinals are 0-4 in the Eastern time zone this season.
The Patriots haven't lost at home to an NFC team during the regular season since September 18, 2005.
Since 2003, the Pats have a 22-2 mark in December home games, and have won 10 straight since 2006.
Perhaps most daunting, Bill Belichick's boys are gonna be motivated, 'cause they're locked in a three-way tie for first in the AFC East with Miami and the Jets. (We remember motivation, like that of the Vikes, who needed the win last Sunday to stay ahead of the Chicago Bears in the NFC North.)
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The Patriots' pass defense bites. Unfortunately, as noted, the weather should negate any edge Warner and the Cards might've had there.
It'll be a homecoming for Cards Pro Bowl-bound special-teams whiz Sean Morey (pictured), who's from Marshfield, Massachusetts. The Patriots let Morey slip away after drafting him in 1999.
Kickoff's at 11 a.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium. See www.azcardinals.com. TV: FOX 10. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. -- Clay McNear