For some reason, the NFL decided that it would be a good idea to pit the Skelton-led Arizona Cardinals against the Kitna-led Dallas Cowboys in a "marquee Christmas day matchup".
A primetime matchup that features nine combined victories (and two exasperated fan bases) between the contestants? Well, that just sounds like par for the course for our Redbirds. Let's unwrap the matchup (see what I did there?) with the most anticipation we can muster.
Arizona Cardinals +7 vs. Dallas Cowboys
And once again in the 2010 season, the Arizona Cardinals are significant home-dogs to a team with a losing record. On Christmas no less! That's just Grinch-esque. I ask, where's your holiday cheer Vegas?
Besides that, relish for a moment how angry the players and coaches within the Dallas Cowboys organization must be. First they had to play on Thanksgiving Day, one of the two primary holidays that revolve around family. Now, they have to fly their butts out to Glendale and play against one of the worst teams in the NFL -- in a game that virtually nobody nationally will be watching -- on Christmas Day, the other of the two primary holidays that revolve around family. Hell, it won't even be broadcast on a major network (have fun with this one NFL Network). Just the thought of the irritation these guys must be holding in makes this Cowboys-hater smile.
On a different note, does anyone else agree that last week's Cardinals-Panthers was one of the worst football games of the decade? Seriously. After a while watching that game started to feel like a chore. Really, it's almost hilarious to think about how bad (the always overrated) Jimmy Clausen turned out to be -- until you realize that he just somehow engineered a win over the Cardinals. That has to be the low point for the season, right?
Back to this week. Dallas actually seems to have turned things around. After a well-documented (but quite amusing) 1-7 start, the ‘Boys have rallied to win four of their past six games, and seem to be responding well to interim coach Jason Garrett's fiery style. Of late they have notched a couple of nice wins against New York and Indianapolis, and have played extremely close against Philadelphia and New Orleans. The offense has rediscovered some of its explosiveness and quarterback Jon Kitna has bounced back after a dreadful start.
All of that is more than can be said about the Cardinals.
We all know. I don't need to prattle on and on about the offensive ineptitude -- which
thankfully returned last week after the aberration that was the Denver game -- or the constant defensive disappointments. It's inevitable. A Christmas miracle notwithstanding, the Cardinals will slouch their way to another let-down of a game, and the Phoenix-faithful will take yet another deep, collective sigh before drowning their sorrows in their eggnog. Happy holidays.
Prediction: Cowboys 30, Cardinals 17
Last time's record: 0-1
Total record: 19-11