First off, Happy New Year! In the season finale against the Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals will look to start the new year right, and end the season well, by scoring a victory against their division rivals. This game will decide who is 2nd in the NFC West. It wil also decide which team comes away with a .500 record, and which ones finishes with a losing one. Therefor, although both teams are out of Playoff contention, this is still an important game.
Hit the jump to see what you should watch for in Week 17 of the NFL, and the first Cardinals game of 2012.
1) John Skelton
With the team playing it safe and sitting Kevin Kolb, QB John Skelton will get the start again. After having a mediocre game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and coming short on his comeback in the 4th Quarter, he'll be looking to rebound and finish the season strong. Plus, a good performance will give him a headstart in the off-season QB competition.
Sam Rosen is calling the game, which is good news for CB Peterson. In every game called by Rosen this season, Peterson has scored a punt return TD. One more punt return TD will give Peterson the record for most in NFL history. Look for him to break the record, continue Rosen's streak, and show why he'll be representing the Cardinals in the Pro Bowl as the NFC's return man.
3) Cardinals defense
A big story of this season has been the Cards defense. After starting the season badly, they completely turned it around and have been playing like a Top 5 defense in the last half of the season. Look for them to try and halt the Seahawks offense, and to keep the momentum going into the off-season.
RB Marshawn Lynch has had a great season for the Seahawks. Last week, he even broke the San Francisco 49ers streak of no rushing TD's allowed. Watch for him to continue his TD streak, and see how he responds to the Cardinals suddenly good defense.
5) Tavaris Jackson
The Seahawks QB will definitely play a huge part in the game. Relying on Lynch alone probably won't be enough. Jackson will have to play at least decent if he hopes to bring the Seahawks to 8-8.