SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals have one of their biggest regular season home games ever when they host the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night at University of Phoenix stadium.
A win gives them a 12-3 record, the NFC Western Division crown and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Having the man who quarterbacked them in the 2009 Super Bowl back in the lineup for this playoff run was a possibility earlier this week.
When backup quarterback Drew Stanton was injured during last week’s game in St. Louis, the “Come back Kurt” cries came from Cardinals fans across Arizona. And Kurt Warner heard those pleas and thought about the possibilities.
“As crazy as it sounds, I actually did consider could I actually come back and play and help them?,” Warner said. “But the hope is that Drew’s injury won’t last long and that he’ll be able to be back out there and lead them in the playoffs.”
With Stanton and first-string quarterback Carson Palmer both out with injuries, third-stringer Ryan Lindley will start against the Seahawks. Warner has some tips for Lindley:
For one, Lindley needs to remember that he doesn’t have to be the star of the game.
“As much as you want to go out and have a huge impact on the game, sometimes the biggest impact can be not making mistakes and allowing other guys do their part,” Warner said. “That’s got to be Ryan’s mindset. He doesn’t have to go against Richard Sherman and crew and win this game by himself.”
Warner said Lindley needs to relax and rely on his teammates around him.
“(The Cardinals) have a really, really good football team. He can find comfort in the fact that it’s OK to have an incomplete pass, or to throw the ball away, or to punt the ball away because it’s all about team,” he said.
Oddsmakers have Seattle the favorite to win the game, but Warner said don’t count the Cardinals out.
“The one thing that the Cardinals have done all year is that they’ve stayed in games, and they’ve given themselves a chance to win at the end,” he said. “I have a feeling this might be the same thing. Keep yourself in the game, and then can somebody make that play down the stretch to get you the win?”
Warner said whether the Cardinals win or lose, the great news is that they have already clinched a playoff spot, and will still be playing a few weeks from now, making this an exciting time for the city and Arizona.