A 5-4 record certainly isn’t anything to run and tell home about heading into week 11 of the 2013 NFL season. In essence, a record like that means that your team is just slightly above .500 and probably considered to be mediocre and not much more. However, a 5-4 record is keeping the Arizona Cardinals on the fringe of making the playoffs.
According to the standings as they currently sit, the Cardinals are the first team out of the postseason in the NFC right now, winning tie-breakers over the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers who also sit with 5-4 records. Playing in the NFC West that is almost surely going to have two playoff teams at the top of the division, the Cardinals are playing for what is likely going to be the final wildcard spot in the conference.
If the Cards plan on staying in the playoff hunt after week 11, though, they have to avoid a let-down in games they should win. Most urgently, Arizona needs to avoid a let-down game in week 11 when the face off with the no-longer-winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
What is a bit scary about the Jags coming to town on the heels of their first win of the season is they got their first win last week over a Tennessee Titans team that is somewhat similar to this Cardinals team. Like Arizona, Tennessee was still in competition for a wildcard spot or even the division in the AFC, but a bad loss to Jacksonville certainly dampens their chances.
The similarities don’t stop with situations, though; like the Titans, the Cardinals are a stout defensive team for this season, but have a wishy-washy offense that is more-or-less unpredictable on a week-to-week basis.
What this means for the Cardinals coming into their game with the Jags is that their defense has to step up. You would like to think that the offense will have a nice day against one of the worst defenses in the league in Jacksonville, but it would be better for their postseason chances if they just eliminated the need for their offense and shut the Jags down.