Last week’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles was perhaps the most shocking win for the Arizona Cardinals this season. Yes, even more shocking than the Week 3 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles were still alive for the #1 seed in the NFC and the Cardinals had nothing to play for except pride—and even had incentive for losing.
No one was surprised when the team fell down 21-6 at the half, but no one—except maybe the people in that locker room—expected the furious 2nd-half rally and upset win that was to come.
But not only was the win completely unexpected—remember, the Eagles were favored by nearly two touchdowns at home—but it was also potentially franchise altering in a way few regular-season wins ever are.
What do I mean? And what could happen next? Read on to find out.
Jonathan Gannon’s Legacies
One angle about last weekend’s game that had a lot of people talking both locally and nationally was Jonathan Gannon’s return to Philadelphia. About a year ago, Gannon’s Eagles defense was collapsing in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl against the Chiefs. Eagles fans were seemingly ecstatic that the Cardinals tipped him to be their next head coach. Be careful what you wish for, I guess—the Eagles have plummeted from 2nd in total defense last year to 23rd this year. And they gave up four TD drives of 70+ yards in the 2nd half last week—with Gannon on the opposite sideline. That might cast Gannon’s Eagles legacy in a different light—and it could be one of the defining games of his Cardinals legacy.
A Galvanized Fanbase
Cardinals fans have been doom and gloom just about all season, all last offseason… all the way back to the second-half collapse of 2021, really. And for good reason—this franchise has been floundering since that glorious 10-2 start. But things seem a little different for Cardinals fans after that Eagles win—here on RotB, callers on 98.7, anecdotally amongst my friends. There seems to be some hope in the air, some “How ‘bout them Cardinals?” going around. The players have clearly bought into what Gannon and Monti Ossenfort are putting together, and it seems like the fans have started to buy in as well.
Kyler Is The Guy
If there was any lingering doubt around the league that Kyler Murray will be the Cardinals QB next year, it was put to rest after last Sunday’s game. And there was still plenty of doubt, especially after that 1st-half pick-six and the Cardinals looking like they were headed for a top-3 pick. But then came that 2nd half comeback led by Kyler, the highlight of which was a hallmark Kyler improvisation on that gorgeous TD to James Conner. Kyler looks all the way back and still has Pro Bowl–type ceiling—if not higher. The team, the coaches, the front office all look ready to go to war with him, and the team won’t be in position to draft a replacement. Now it’s just a matter of improving the offensive talent around him.
Dropping in the Draft
Depending on your viewpoint, there was one negative side effect of the Eagles win. Going into the game we were sitting on the #3 pick, which was perfect for those dreaming of Marvin Harrison Jr. coming to the desert (or even those hoping to trade down with a QB-needy team for even more picks). The top two teams would take Caleb Williams and Drake Maye in some order, then the Cardinals could either take Harrison or trade down. Well, that scenario went out the window with the win (combined with losses by the Commanders and Patriots), as we fell to the #4 pick. Of course, there are a number of draft scenarios still in play (see below), but you may remember what happened the last time the Cardinals played themselves out of a premium pick late in the season. So maybe all this worrying about draft position is much ado about nothing.
What’s at stake in Week 18?
So how does a team follow up a seismic win like that? Well, we come back home to face the division rival Seattle Seahawks with a chance to knock them out of the playoffs with a win… or potentially move up the draft board with a loss. This could be a conundrum depending on what kind of fan you are. Do you root for the win to keep the momentum going and stick it to a division rival at the expense of draft position, or are you more worried about draft position?
The draft is notoriously fickle, and the Cardinals could potentially be drafting from 2nd to 8th depending on what happens in Week 18. And the top 3 picks could all be QBs, which would give the Cardinals the opportunity to still draft Harrison if they remain at #4.. But this seems like a deep draft, so the Cardinals should be able to nab a great player wherever their pick winds up. And remember we still have another 1st-rounder coming to us courtesy of the Houston Texans.
For me, I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing another win to end the season on a positive note and screw over the Seahawks. (Even though I don’t necessarily hate this current incarnation led by Geno Smith and some fun offensive players.) But I also wouldn’t be broken up if we lost and moved up the draft board. Just trying to be pragmatic!
What about you, RotBers? What are you most concerned with heading into Week 18? You know the drill: vote in the poll and pop off in the comments.
Let’s keep it simple: What are you concerned about most going into Week 18 against the Seahawks?
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