The Arizona Cardinals have a lot to play for in Week 18.
To begin with, they can still win the NFC West with a win over the Seattle Seahawks and a Los Angeles Rams loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
That would catapult the Cardinals from the number five seed to the number two seed in the NFC which would give them home-field advantage for two rounds of the playoffs.
So a win benefits the team considerably.
However, a win also gives their head coach Kliff Kingsbury a piece of franchise history.
What Kingsbury Achieves
If the Cardinals win, they finish the season with a 12-5 record.
Winning 12 or more games in a single season has only happened one other time in Cardinals history.
If the #Cardinals win tomorrow, Kliff Kingsbury would match Bruce Arians as the only coaches in franchise history to win 12 or more games in a season. https://t.co/if4rOksaHE
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 8, 2022
The last time was in 2015 when Coach Bruce Arians led the Cardinals to a 13-3 regular-season record.
That 2015 team led by Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald made it all the way to the NFC Championship before losing to the Carolina Panthers.
It Is A 17 Game Season
The debate will continue for years about records achieved from the 2021 season and forward.
There is an extra regular-season game.
In this case, Kingsbury’s team had an extra game to put him over the 12 win mark.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time the NFL lengthened the regular season.
Before 1960, there were 12 games.
From 1960-1977, there were 14 games.
From 1978-2020, there were 16 games.
The game has changed in so many ways over the years including the number of games.
That does not invalidate the records that are achieved in those eras.
People getting upset about NFL records being broken cuz there are 17 games now. Keep that same energy for the players who put up crazy numbers w/14 games and got their records broken when the season was upped to 16 games
— Adam (@Adam_Lumaye) January 6, 2022
The Cardinals Approach To The Week 18 Game
Still have everything in front of us. pic.twitter.com/d7riUZm1wz
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 7, 2022
The Cardinals have to walk the fine line between playing hard to win and taking care of players who are banged up that are needed for the playoff run.
Kingsbury has been clear about the team’s goal in Week 18.
“We want to win the game. That’s our goal. We felt like we made strides last week and we want to keep that momentum going. That’s huge rolling into the playoffs to try to be playing some of our best football…We’ll be smart about some of those guys that are a little banged up, knowing our ultimate goal.”
Kingsbury is correct in thinking that momentum is everything.
The 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers won eight straight games including the last four regular-season games and four playoff games including the Super Bowl.
Watch the Cardinals host the Seahawks in their critical Week 18 game at 4:25 PM EST on January 9, 2022 on FOX.NEXT: NFL World Reacts To J.J. Watt News