The final stretch begins for the Redskins, as the Arizona Cardinals come to town as the Washington Redskins look to sweep the NFC West during 2017 regular season play.
The first of two consecutive home games begins next Sunday as the Washington Redskins prepare to defend their home turf against the Arizona Cardinals at FedExField in Landover, Md.
The game will be televised on FOX with a 1:00 p.m. EST kickoff.
A slew of injuries has essentially ended Arizona's chances at making the playoffs. The Cardinals have experienced one of the most up-and-down seasons in the NFL in 2017, alternating wins and losses on a weekly basis until losing two consecutive games in Weeks 10 and 11. With teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams fighting for the top spot in the NFC West, Arizona is forced to look on with a battered roster and a backup quarterback under center.
Quarterback Carson Palmer broke his arm in Week 7 against the Rams. In his place, Drew Stanton went 1-2 in the three games he played, throwing for 540 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Following a 22-16 loss to the Seahawks, head coach Bruce Arians decided to go in a different direction at quarterback.
Enter Blaine Gabbert, fresh off three seasons with San Francisco. Gabbert saw similar success as Stanton, also going 1-2 in his first three games, however, his first victory as Arizona's starter came against a stellar Jacksonville defense. Gabbert rebounded from a late interception and fumble, eventually leading his team on a last minute-drive that ended with a game-winning field goal.
Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' 2016 Week 13 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals Dec. 4, 2016, at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Behind Gabbert, veteran running back Adrian Peterson is having a late-career renaissance. After failing to gain more than 40 yards in any of his first four games with the New Orleans Saints, he was dealt to the desert, where he averaged more than 70 yards per contest in his first six games.
Downfield, Arizona can depend on legendary receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who recently moved into fourth place in the NFL's all-time receiving yards. Fitzgerald, who has eight 1,000-yard seasons in his 14 years with the Cardinals, has more than double the amount of receptions of any other team member, despite being the NFL's oldest active wide receiver.
On defense, the Cardinals have trouble keeping other teams out of the end zone. Arizona had the fourth-worst defense in points allowed per game entering Week 14 action, but ranks near the middle of the pack in other key defensive categories. Linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the defense in tackles, taking over for injured safety Tyvon Branch. Branch, who looked like the clear leader of the defense when paired with fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu, had his promising year cut short by a torn ACL.
Mathieu, known for his season of dominance in 2015 and his unique nickname of "Honey Badger," is playing his best football since being sidelined with an ACL injury last year.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals' biggest pass rush threat, linebacker Chandler Jones, accounts for just less than half of the team's sacks and yards lost on tackles.
Sunday's matchup will be the 123rd meeting between Washington and Arizona, with the Redskins leading the all-time series 74-46-2.