Arizona Cardinals: Division games must wins

The Arizona Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium

The last time out against the San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals were without starting quarterback Carson Palmer.  Instead they got Drew Stanton to manage the game in a 33-21 victory.

Now Palmer is back.  Also, the 49ers are starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick now.  Blaine Gabbert was the starter last time out.

The Cardinals must view every NFC West game as a must win.  They should do that with every team but the fact is if the Cardinals can’t beat a team like the division-rival 49ers, then we really shouldn’t concern ourselves with the rest of the schedule.

The Cardinals were reportedly full of energy when they returned to practice this week after their bye in week nine.  We’ll see if that carries over to the field on Sunday afternoon in Glendale.

The Cardinals need to have a sense of urgency.  The margin of error is practically nothing.  They also still have injuries they are nursing.

Although not official yet, safety Tyrann Mathieu will miss this game.  A number of other players were limited in practice on Thursday.

Receivers John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald were both limited in practice.  That’s not really a surprise given their situations.  Both can be limited in practice during the week and still play on Sunday.

The other limited practice participants on Thursday for the Cardinals included linebacker Alex Okafor, defensive Ed Stinson, and tight end Darren Fells.  Cornerback Therold Simon did not practice.

The Cardinals lost left tackle Jared Veldheer for the season in week nine.  John Wetzel will take his place.  The Cardinals can ill-afford to have any other major injuries if they wish to continue to compete for a playoff spot in 2016.

Look for the Cardinals to come out strong and take control early this Sunday.  They know they still have a lot to prove to fans and themselves.

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