NFL Week 17: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons Game Preview

Atlanta Falcons
Jamie Lamor Thompson /

The Arizona Cardinals are set to travel to Mercedes Benz Stadium to take on the Atlanta Falcons in a week seventeen NFL matchup. The Cardinals come into the game with a record of 4-11. This has been an especially disappointing season for the Cardinals as many expected them to take a big step forward this season. They currently sit in last place in the NFC West, one game behind the Los Angeles Rams for third place in the division. On the flip side, the Falcons enter the contest with a record of 5-10 and currently sit in last place in the NFC South. Despite their rough record, this has still been a very successful season for the Falcons. Although they were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, they still stayed in the race much longer than anyone expected coming into the year. While this may not end up being the highest quality football played on Sunday, it could be a game that comes down to the wire. 

Arizona Cardinals Hope to Keep Game Competitive After Letdown of a Season

The Arizona Cardinals are coming off of a 19-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was not a bad performance from the Cardinals. They were playing without their star quarterback Kyler Murray as he was sidelined with an injury. In his absence, third string quarterback Trace McSorely struggled against the Buccanneers’ defense. He finished the game throwing for 217 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception while completing only 53.3% of his passes. Colt McCoy is hopeful to make a return to action this week, however, it is still very up in the air if he will be able to. 

This could be a very difficult matchup for the Cardinals to win with either option under center. However, this is still a very winnable game for Arizona. Atlanta is still a developing team that is missing quite a few pieces before they are truly ready for a postseason appearance. 

Atlanta Falcons Look to Continue to Develop Rookie Quarterback Desmond Ridder

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off of a tough 17-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In this game, Atlanta had the advantage of playing the Ravens without Lamar Jackson, however, it still was not enough to give them a win. With their hopes of a playoff birth now gone, they likely will fully focus on developing Desmond Ridder. Although he was unable to find the endzone through the air, Ridder showed great improvement in his decisionmaking last week and did not turn the ball over. This week, he will have to show even more growth as the stakes rise even higher. Through his first few starts, Ridder has not done much to prove why Atlanta should not be looking for another quarterback in the upcoming draft. With Marcus Mariota allegedly quitting the team once he lost his starting job, it is now Ridder or bust for the Falcons at the quarterback position.