Hopefully the Arizona Cardinals players and coaches enjoyed their bye week because now they'll have to slam the pedal to the floor and play lights out for 13 consecutive weeks (at least). Over the weekend they saw their primary competition in the division and their opposition this week absolutely throttle two hapless opponents. The 49ers blank the Rams 35-0 despite not doing much themselves offensively but nonetheless they improved their record to 3-1. If the the Cardinals still have designs on making a run at the NFC West they'll need to start keeping pace with the Niners. The Texans, who come to Arizona this weekend, destroyed the Raiders and moved their record to 2-2. The Texans will be looking to keep pace with the undefeated Colts in AFC South. So how important is this game to the Cardinals?
Keeping Up with the Niners: While it's much to early in the season to scoreboard watch, the Cardinals organization must be cognizant of how where the Niners are in the standings. With the Niners prepare for a seemingly difficult home game against the Falcons, the Cardinals could move within a game of the Niners if things go well on Sunday. If things turn ugly though the Cards could be looking at a full three game deficit.
Protecting the Nest: Under Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt the Cardinals have never lost more than two home games in a season but this Sunday they'll be fighting to stop a two game losing streak at UoP Stadium. When the Red Birds are playing "their" game the home stadium is a loud and disruptive venue another home loss could make it very difficult for the team to continue their streak of consecutive sell outs.
Beating a Quality Opponent: Now let's be clear that no one has ever raised a banner after beating the Houston Texans but they would be the closest thing to a "quality win" that the Cardinals have this season. The Texans have bona fide playmakers on both sides of ball and they are one of those types of teams who can beat very good teams on a given Sunday.