TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona coach Bruce Arians was not thrilled when he discovered his spirited post-victory words to his players last Sunday would be piped out on TV for everyone to see and hear.
”We’ve got a big one next weekend, now,” he yelled, following a 23-0 win over the Giants, about the upcoming season finale in Seattle’s notoriously noisy CenturyLink Field.
”All right? We know that’s our home field. We’re goin’ up there and kick their (behinds).”
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Just the kind of stuff to spice up a Sunday matchup between NFC West foes that don’t seem to think much of each other, a game already significant for the Seahawks, who may need a victory to make the postseason.
”Bruce gets to say whatever he wants, man,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said in a radio interview on Tuesday. ”He can say whatever he wants. OK, bring `em on. Let’s go. We’ll go play some football on Sunday and we’ll figure it out.”
Arians said the comment wasn’t meant for public consumption.
”Things that you say to your team in your locker room are supposed to be in your locker room,” Arians said on Wednesday, ”but it got out, and I said it, so we have won three times in a row up there.”
Actually, it’s three out of four, but that’s still no easy feat in one of the toughest places to play in the league.
But the man at the controls of those three victories was Carson Palmer, who turned 38 on Wednesday and will be watching this one as his broken left arm mends.
Drew Stanton was the quarterback in the lone loss in Seattle during Arians’ time in Arizona. And Stanton will be the starter on Sunday.
”I think each game’s different,” Stanton said. ”That’s a different team that we’re facing up there, and we’re a different team now.
”Each year, especially when you get to this point in the season, they’ve got a lot left to play for. They’re trying to win that final playoff spot, and so we know what we’re going up against – a really good defense with a lot of really good football players that we need to be prepared for and try and find a way to score one more point at the end of the game.”
That the game could eliminate the Seahawks is an added motivation for the Cardinals, in addition to trying to finish the season 8-8.
”I think it means a whole lot more to be playing them than somebody else, yes,” Arians said.
To make the postseason, Seattle must beat Arizona and have Carolina win in Atlanta.
Stanton, though, downplayed the playoff implications.
”I don’t think it changes our approach,” he said. ”That might motivate you a little bit more, but at the end of the day, we’re professionals. We’re paid to do a job, and we need to go out there and fulfill that.
”Now, the icing on the cake might be trying to spoil them and their chances to go to the playoffs, but at the end of the day, I don’t think that’s the biggest thing that we’re playing for.”
A victory would make Arians the winningest coach in Cardinals history with 50.
How much would that mean?
”It means we’d be 8-8, and that’s about it,” Arians said. ”The rest of that stuff, I don’t put much stock in. It’s nice to be 8-8 because we’re 7-8, but it isn’t what we wanted when we started this journey this year.”
The Cardinals have not had a winning record at any point during the past two seasons after winning the NFC West in 2015.
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