The Cardinals have won only two games against teams with a winning record this season. They defeated the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 and knocked off the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Arizona's only other win against a non-divisional opponent came against the Buffalo Bills who have collapsed to lose seven of their last eight games.
While the Cardinals have performed formidably against inferior competition from the NFC West, they've been largely unsuccessful elsewhere. Arizona has lost by 21-plus points three times this season and has been outscored 227-138 in its six losses. The Cardinals have offset those porous numbers by outscoring their divisional foes 146-80.
RB Edgerrin James
Arizona's passing attack remains productive, but QB Kurt Warner's numbers continue to drop. Warner's QB rating is down to 97.5 and he's been held to a rating of less than 80.0 in three of his last four games. Furthermore, Warner has tossed five interceptions in his last three outings and has been picked off at least once in five straight contests.
Complicating Warner's problems has been the decline of the Cardinals' offensive line. In addition to providing little room in the running game, they've been unable to keep Warner upright in recent weeks. The Vikings stampeded Arizona with four sacks while the Giants and Eagles were able to rattle Warner with constant pressure in the pocket.
Prior to a Week 17 showdown against the Seattle Seahawks, the Cardinals have one final opportunity to show up against a worthy opponent. Arizona makes its fifth East Coast road trip of the season this week, a place where they've been unable to overcome the cross-country journey. If the Cardinals fail to reverse those fortunes against the New England Patriots, their hopes of a lengthy playoff run will grow even more unlikely.
Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at email@example.com