Arizona coach Bruce Arians doesn’t care much that few around the NFL expect the Cardinals to win Sunday against the Seahawks in what is essentially an NFC West title game.
“That’s been the sentiment for about a month,” Arians said Wednesday during a conference call with Seattle media. “I haven’t heard anybody pick us in a long time. So there’s no difference. They have to play these games for somebody to win them. Can’t just hand them to somebody. I think our guys will be ready.”
A big reason Arizona is now as much as a nine-point underdog is its uncertain quarterback situation, with Ryan Lindley — who was cut in the preseason and spent 10 weeks on San Diego’s practice squad before returning to the Cardinals last month — now the team’s starter.
Arians professed the utmost confidence in Lindley, who will making just the fifth start of his career and first since 2012.
“We’re not going to change what we do,” Arians said. “I really like Ryan. I love how he prepares. He played in a game last week i thought very efficient. He was thrown into a situation where he didn’t get any snaps in practice but he obviously he had prepared himself very well. Knew the game plan. I’m very comfortable with him.”
Lindley also spoke to Seattle reporters and said that he likewise has confidence he can get the job done against what is now the top-ranked defense in the NFL.
“Just have to go out and execute what you put together that week,” he said.
Lindley said he’s aware of the perception of Arizona’s chances in the game but said his wife was taking precautions, anyway.
“My wife on Monday put a social media ban on the house,” he said. “She’s probably more active than I am so I haven’t heard a ton of it. … I was watching Sunday Night Football and you see some things But we preach that in this building it’s all about how we feel and what we do in this facility.”
Lindley was drafted in the sixth round by Arizona in 2012. Among other teams who showed interest in him that year were the Seahawks, who took Russell Wilson in the third round that season.
Lindley said he had “a few meetings” with the Seahawks, mostly at the Senior Bowl. “It’s a great group of guys and I’m not surprised that this group has put together that kind of team that the have and had the success that they’ve had,” he said. “I do have some good memories of meeting those guys.”
Arians also spoke confidently of the Cardinals as a whole.
He recalled the 19-3 defeat in Seattle last month and noted that “hopefully we’ll have 11 guys out there for a punt this time and catch the ball when it’s thrown to us in the end zone.” Those were references to a blocked punt that led to a field goal and Juron Brown’s drop of a touchdown pass shortly before halftime.
“It wasn’t like they thrashed us,” he said.
Asked about the stakes of the game, he said he expected both teams to embrace them.
“You don’t get to play for these damn things every often,” he said. “It’s not like Seattle’s played for them for 100 damn years.”