Arizona Cardinals: The 5 Worst Losses This Year

Chad MiddletonContributor IDecember 6, 2011

Arizona Cardinals: The 5 Worst Losses This Year

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    It's that time of year where the diehard fan starts looking at the playoff picture. If you are an Arizona Cardinals fan, you probably fall in that category.

    The Cardinals can mathematically still get in the playoffs as a wild-card team, but the stars would have to align and maybe even throw in an eclipse for good measure.

    But at 5-7, it's time to look back at some of those Cardinals losses and wonder what could have been. Yes, it's time for the proverbial "It's a Wonderful Life" flashback moment.

    Let's look at the five losses that left a bad taste in your mouth, and that could have changed the outlook on the Cardinals' season. 

5. Minnesota 34, Arizona 10

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    At this point, we didn't think the Cardinals would play well on the road, but now having watched the hapless Vikings play for 12 weeks, this loss burns.

    Offensively, the Cardinals couldn't move the ball, and turnovers killed them before the game started. This was one of the easiest games to cut off after the first quarter, when the Vikings sprinted to a 28-0 lead. 

    What's really bad about this game is that Donovan McNabb was the winning quarterback with a whopping 169 yards passing and 10 completions.

    The silver lining is that Minnesota has pretty much done nothing since this game at all. 

4. Seattle 13, Arizona 10

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    Let me be honest here. The Cardinals played the Seahawks sans Beanie Wells here in what is one of the toughest places to play.

    Still, you are playing a team led by Tarvaris Jackson. At this point, he was still a little loss at quarterback, but Sidney Rice did help his cause in this game.

    The Cardinals surprisingly slowed Marshawn Lynch down to 73 yards, but couldn't get their offense going at all.

    The defense actually played well this game, but this game could've easily been a Cardinals win if anybody could have stepped up in the end.

    The silver lining for this game is the Seahawks and Cardinals both have the same record and probably will play for second place in Week 17.

    But that's probably all they will play for. 

3. Washington 22, Arizona 21

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    Who knew that blowing fourth-quarter leads would be a rule more than an exception this year?

    This September game against the Washington Redskins left many fans speechless, especially after Kevin Kolb hit Larry Fitzgerald for the long touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.  

    The defense couldn't stop the Rex Grossman-led Redskins from coming back with a powerful drive in the fourth quarter.

    This was the Cardinals' first loss of the year, and it didn't register at the time as being a loss that would come back and haunt them. Now seeing how the Redskins finished the year, this game is like that last chicken pox that turned into a scar instead of disappearing totally off your skin.

    No matter how hard you scratch, this loss won't come off. 

    The silver lining is the Redskins won't be going anywhere this year either.

2. New York Giants 31, Arizona 27

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    This game will forever be known as the Victor Cruz fumble that never was.

    I'll admit it. When I saw Cruz drop the ball on the ground, I thought game over. The Cardinals won a game that was starting to look like the two previous games. 

    Then it happened. 

    The refs blew it dead and Eli Manning took advantage of an overly emotional Cardinals defense that wasn't prepared for the next play, which turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

    Final score: 31-27. 

    Now with the 6-6 New York Giants just one game ahead of the Cardinals in the playoff hunt, that game stings even more because of the head-to-head implications.

    The silver lining to this game is that the Giants have a much tougher schedule to finish out the season than the Cardinals.

1. Baltimore 30, Arizona 27

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    This is the scarlet letter of losses for the Cardinals.

    When you are up 24-3 against the Baltimore Ravens on the road, you have to finish the game. You can not let Joe Flacco, who has been somewhat average this year, come back and beat you from such a large deficit.

    Unacceptable.

    Look at the losses Baltimore has had this year. Tennessee is acceptable. Seattle and Jacksonville are not. 

    The first half of this game was arguably the Cardinals' finest of the year. In all three phases of the game, Arizona looked like a contender. 

    The second half was their worst half of the year. 

    If you put together one long drive or a couple of third-down conversions, the Cardinals are in the heart of playoff talk.

    This may be hard to believe, there is a silver lining to this game though. This was the game that seemed to change the attitude of the Cardinals' defense.

    The team has won four of their last five games and the defense seems to have found its groove.