We all know that Ken Whisenhunt and the Arizona Cardinals are an inconsistent team. Although they have yet to lose back to back games this season(an anomaly at that), they've dropped games to the Panthers, 49ers, and Titans - games they should have won. But is inconsistency really the reason?
We knocked the Cardinals for losing games in embarrassing fashion, after clinching the NFC West last season. They lost to the Vikings and Patriots with a combined score of 21-82. They hobbled into the playoffs and were ripped with "the worst playoff team in NFL history" title. Obviously they weren't, surprising the Falcons, Panthers, and Eagles to get to the Super Bowl.
This year the Cardinals have become a different team when their opponents are least expecting it. After poor performances against the 49ers and Colts, the Cardinals went into Giants Stadium and won, surprising the nation and the Giants. Then the Cardinals lost to the Panthers, squeaked out a win against the Rams, and lost to the Titans on the last play of the game. The Vikings were the favorite to win the next week, but faced a different Cardinals team. They threw blitzes we hadn't seen all year, and dominated the Vikings defense as well. Since then, the Cardinals have fallen to the 49ers, struggled against the Lions, and then lost to the Packers this past week. So what exactly does "playing possum" mean? Here's what wikipedia says:
"Playing possum" is an idiomatic phrase which means "pretending to be dead". It comes from a characteristic of the Virginia Opossum, which is famous for pretending to be dead when threatened..."Playing possum" can also mean simply pretending to be injured, unconscious, asleep, or otherwise vulnerable, often to lure an opponent into a vulnerable position himself.
Is that what the Cardinals have done this season? Maybe. I believe in the end that they are an inconsistent team but that doesn't mean they aren't playing possum. It seems that most of what Ken Whisenhunt does throughout the year happens for a reason. Edgerrin James was benched last year, only to be rejuvenated in the playoffs and give the Cardinals an added dimension to their offense. This year, the Cardinals have shown very little on defense(except for the Vikings game), and have yet to make a big play on offense. Come Sunday, we'll be able to tell if the Cardinals are truly luring their "opponent into a vulnerable position". Have the Cardinals really been playing possum all year? What are your thoughts?