With their 23-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, the Arizona Cardinals were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Had they won, it would not have mattered because the Detroit Lions also won, so they would have been eliminated in any case. But regardless, considering the run the Cardinals gave us as fans over the course of the last two months, it was disappointing to see it end.
The Cardinals now are set to end their season against the Seattle Seahawks and a chance to finish the season at .500 with an 8-8 record. Seattle has been playing very well, so the game should be a very good one. Considering this game is a division game, the chance to take over second place in the division will hopefully be a motivating factor for the players.
The question is now for you. What do you hope to see in Week 17.
There are a couple of frames of mind that fans have. One is to cheer for a win, despite playoff status. The Cardinals would finish 8-8 and in second place in the NFC West. That is natural because it really is depressing to hope for a loss.
The other thought is to be okay with a loss because it would give the team better draft status. At 7-9, they would be looking at a pick around number 10, plus or minus a slot or two. Better draft status means a potentially better player.
Here is what I hope to see in Week 17.
To begin, it is not in my nature to hope for a loss. I can't do that.
I want to see Kevin Kolb play and be recovered from that concussion. His last start against the Cowboys started shakily and then he was very effective. I have seen enough of the John Skelton three quarters of a pile of poo followed by All-Pro play. At least right now I know what he is. He is a guy that can make big plays at the end if the defense has covered up his previous gaffes. I want to see how Kolb plays against a pretty solid Seattle defense.
I want to see Larry Fitzgerald somehow catch two TD passes to reach 10 on the season. Nine receptions would be nice, as that would bring him to 80, as well.
With Beanie Wells at 1047 yards, I want to see 1150 for the season, meaning at least 103 yards against the Seahawks. That will be a tall task as Seattle has a stout rush defense. But it would be a great way to punctuate the equally exciting and disappointing season for Beanie.
Since he hasn't done it yet this season, LaRod Stephens-Howling needs to take a kickoff to the endzone.
Defensively, as Calais Campbell had a monster game against the Seahawks earlier this season, I woudl like to see him reach the 10 sack mark. He has eight on the season.
Lastly, since it has been so hard to complete, I want to see a tight end catch a pass in the seam. That play has been there so often, but the quarterbacks have not been able to get the ball in their accurately.
Draft status at this point is meaningless to me because I would rather see forward momentum to end the season, giving the team something to build upon this offseason.
How about the rest of you? What things would you like to see by the Cardinals this final game of the 2011 season?