An in-depth preview of the Cardinals' crucial division matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
If the Cardinals can prevail against Seattle, it would put them back in position to contend for a third consecutive NFC West title. Including this week's contest, Arizona plays five of its final eight games at home and four within the division.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt on the importance of Sunday's game: "I think you always feel that way when you play a division game. Especially after you've lost the first game against an opponent, the way we lost that game. Playing at home the second time, there is a raised level of intensity."
BEANIE UNDER FIRE
Second-year RB Beanie Wells has been plagued by injuries this season, and he's beginning to take criticism from the media and the fan base. While injuries are no doubt a part of the game, Wells – a first-round draft pick last year – needs to find a way to stay on the field more consistently.
Wells on criticism: "I definitely don't agree with it. Things happen, I had a knee injury. It set me back a few weeks. Once I'm healthy and I can go out there and play to my capabilities – when I'm healthy – but I haven't been healthy. I had a knee injury. There's nothing you can do about injuries. You can't go out there and prevent them 100 percent.
On if the criticism is unfair: "It is, but it's expected. It's the way of the world now days. That's how fans and people have their opinions about just about everything. Things happen. You can't do anything about those situations when they are brought up, just move forward."
QB POSITION TAKES A BACK SEAT
With Derek Anderson set to make his second consecutive start, it appears the Max Hall experiment is officially over. The focus around the quarterback position has taken a backseat for the first time in over a month and the Cardinals offense should benefit from fewer distractions under center.
WR Larry Fitzgerald on if the offense is further ahead than Week 7's matchup in Seattle: "Yes, much better. No question. We didn't get much accomplished up there last time. It was a pretty bad effort offensively. It's been encouraging the last two weeks we've been able to do some things better. It's something we can hang our hats on and build on."
NEW LOOK FOR BREASTON
Wideout Steve Breaston missed the year's first contest against Seattle in Week 7 and could have an extra advantage come Sunday. Breaston shaved his head this week after sporting the dreadlock look for most of his NFL career.
Fitzgerald on Breaston's new look: "He likes it. He looks more aerodynamic now. He might be a little faster this week and that's scary for the defense. "
While there's still a chance everyone will be available, four players will carry the "questionable" tag into Sunday: Wells (knee), DT Darnell Dockett (shoulder), LB Clark Haggans (groin) and LB Paris Lenon (ankle). LB Will Davis (knee), LB Joey Porter (knee) and FS Kerry Rhodes (hand) are all listed as probable.
Arizona has dealt with its fair share of injuries so far but coach Whisenhunt felt good about the current health of the roster earlier in the week.
Whisenhunt on injuries: "I think everybody will go (Friday) and then we'll be able to determine who's going to be inactive based on how their health is. I feel good about everybody participating and that's pretty fortunate for this time of year.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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