Let’s be honest: If the Kansas City Chiefs fall to the Arizona Cardinals, they don’t deserve a playoff berth.
Yes, the Cardinals are playing at home. They’re also clinging to a No. 1 seed and touting a stout 9-3 record.
But if there’s one team that has endured more backbone-breaking injuries than the Chiefs this season, it’s their Week 14 foe. Bruce Arians has played the part of miracle-worker, (somehow) turning a depleted depth chart into a division leader.
Entering Sunday, Arizona’s best offensive player, Larry Fitzgerald, is recovering from a sprained MCL. Its backfield blur, Andre Ellington, has been ruled out, leaving starting duties to rookie Stepfan Taylor. Throw the IR placements of Jonathan Dwyer and second-round tight end Troy Niklas into the mix, and Arizona’s starting lineup has the symptoms of a preseason finale.
The trend continues on the defensive side of the ball.
Darnell Dockett, John Abraham and Daryl Washington—all former Pro Bowlers—are anchored to the IR list. (Although, Washington’s absence stems from a self-inflicted suspension.) The Cardinals’ most versatile defensive playmaker, Tyrann Mathieu, also won’t take the field this Sunday.
Oh, and they lost their quarterback.
If the Chiefs lose to Drew Stanton, the list of excuses will be running on empty.