Cardinals Set to Soar Even With Short Week

The Cardinals face a challenging turnaround this week, absorbing a disappointing loss to the Giants on Sunday and facing another NFC East foe, the Eagles, Thursday night. That game is in Philadelphia, so given that Wednesday is a travel day, the Cardinals have two days to prepare for an opponent they haven't faced since 2005.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt understands the obstacles.

"We have a tough team and we've done a good job with bouncing back, so hopefully we'll be OK for this game," said Whisenhunt.

The Cardinals can clinch their first division title since 1975 with a victory in Philadelphia. They can back into it, too, if Seattle and the 49ers lose.

"Hey, we've got to bounce back," said defensive end Darnell Dockett. "That's the thing about this team, we don't sit back and make up a bunch of excuses or whatever. If we sit here the rest of this week and dwell about this loss and what we should have did and what we could have did, we're going to look up and be losing to Philly by halftime."

Some key defensive players are nursing injuries, and their availability will be a key Thursday night.

Strong safety Adrian Wilson has a Grade 1 shoulder sprain, and while he's expected to play, he likely won't practice this week.

Cornerback Rod Hood played just one snap last week after missing practice all week due to a death in the family. He also is coping with a painful rib injury.

Outside linebacker Clark Haggans, a key backup, missed last week's game with a foot sprain that is still giving him trouble.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Cardinals weren't discouraged by their loss to the Giants on Sunday. They acknowledged that they just made too many mistakes to beat a good team.

"You can't lose the field-position battle and you can't give them a short field to score points," said defensive end Bertrand Berry. "There's no mystery why they're 10-1 right now. They're playing at a high level and we just didn't make enough plays."

--The Cardinals had two turnovers and the Giants didn't have any. That was a big difference in the game. It's a byproduct of the Cardinals' reliance on the pass.

"I know how hard it is to throw 50 times a game," QB Kurt Warner said. "It's tough to do against good football teams and not have turnovers."

--The Cardinals missed on a rare fair catch kick at the end of the first half. Neil Rackers shanked the 68-yard attempt as he tried too hard to get a long kick.

"How about that?" coach Ken Whisenhunt said of the attempt. "It looked like we were prepared for it, other than the kick."

--Starting tight end Leonard Pope was inactive, even though he was healthy. Stephen Spach, signed in late October, started and Ben Patrick was the backup. The Cardinals have not been happy with the blocking production at that position.

--Defensive end Antonio Smith emerged from the game impressed with the Giants offensive line.

"I think they are a pretty tough group," he said. "They came out and played us as hard as any offensive line has played us all year. We had to get them out on third downs and we didn't do that."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Larry Fitzgerald caught the 400th pass of his career, becoming the youngest player to reach that mark. Fitzgerald is 25.

--RB Tim Hightower has nine rushing touchdowns this year, tying the franchise record for rookies. Ronald Moore set the mark in 1993.

--CB Rod Hood participated in just one snap after missing all last week because of a death in the family. Hood also had been suffering from a rib injury.

--QB Kurt Warner has passed for a touchdown in 19 consecutive games, tying a franchise record set by Neil Lomax.

--QB Kurt Warner has passed for at least 300 yards in five consecutive games, tying for the second longest streak in NFL history. The record, six, is held by Warner, Steve Young and Rich Gannon.

--S Adrian Wilson has a Grade 1 shoulder sprain and likely will be questionable this week. Wilson probably won't practice before Thursday's game against the Eagles.

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