Cards Return to Unfriendly Confines

The Arizona Cardinals entered this season with an impressive 12-4 mark at home during Ken Whisenhunt's first two years in the desert. However, Arizona's 2009 campaign has taken a different turn as the team raced to a 4-0 record on the road but is just 1-3 on its home turf. Brad Wilbricht explains how the Cardinals' success on the road could be the key to another NFC West title.

The Arizona Cardinals have defied the odds in recent weeks and have prevailed on the road in two of their last three games. The Cardinals defeated the New York Giants in Week 7 by the tune of 24-17 and put forth a dominating performance against the Chicago Bears a week ago winning 41-21. Unfortunately for Arizona, the two victories were interrupted by a disappointing home loss against an inconsistent Carolina Panthers squad.

Contrary to previous seasons, the Cardinals have made their mark on the road thus far in 2009. Arizona also proved victorious at the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks, giving the team a perfect 4-0 mark on the road this year. This week, the Cardinals welcome Seattle to the desert as they look to sweep the season series from the Seahawks for the second consecutive year.

Larry Fitzgerald

While the Cardinals stand atop the NFC West standings, the team must renew its commitment towards defending its home field advantage. Arizona is expected to avenge a home loss to Carolina in Week 8 with a win against Seattle this Sunday. The Cardinals follow with two more extremely winnable road games against the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans.

Looking at the remaining schedule for Arizona proves that an undefeated record on the road is very obtainable. Following games at St. Louis and Tennessee, the Cardinals will be out for revenge against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. The 49ers won the season opener at Arizona 20-16 in a mistake plagued afternoon for the Cardinals. Arizona's final road game of the season comes the next week against the Detroit Lions.

If the Cardinals are able to avoid a loss on the road, they'd likely need just one more home win to essentially lock up the NFC West for a second straight season. Although Arizona faces the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers later this season, they'd need just one win between this week's matchup with the Seahawks and the season finale against the Rams. Wins in both of those contests are far more likely at this point in time.

If the above scenario panned out, the Cardinals would finish with a record of at least 10-6 meaning that both San Francisco and Seattle would need to win seven of its eight remaining games. That feat looks highly unlikely given that each team has struggled to a 3-5 record and their play has been declining in recent weeks.

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