The Arizona Cardinals are one of 13 teams heading into the weekend with a 0-1 record. Following a dismal Week 1 performance in Detroit, Cards players know they are in a virtual must-win spot heading to Indianapolis for Week 2.
Since 1990, teams starting 0-2 made the playoffs 12.2 percent of the time (27 out of 222), per NFL Research. Compare that to 40.7 percent of 1-1 teams, and you can understand the urgency of players heading into Sunday's tilt. In 2016, only the Miami Dolphins started 0-2 and made the playoffs.
"I feel like they are all must-wins," Larry Fitzgerald said. "It's not a baseball schedule. We only have one a week and 16 of them scheduled."
With the second of their 16 games coming against a Colts team, which NFL network Insider Ian Rapoport is reporting has benched quarterback Scott Tolzien in favor of Jacoby Brissett, most are predicting the Cardinals to roll to their first win. Of course, many of those same people predicted Arizona to win in Detroit. Wins in the NFL are assured to no team, especially road wins. Any given Sunday, after all.
Losing running back David Johnson (wrist) in the opener throws a wrench in the Cardinals' offensive plans. If Carson Palmer doesn't improve on his horrific opening-game performance, Arizona could fall in another road tussle to start in a 0-2 hole for the first time since 2005 -- when they finished 5-11.