The Chiefs would like to make this the first of two trips to Arizona over the next couple of months. Kansas City is in playoff contention for the second straight season and has some experience on its side, as coach Andy Reid has led a team to the Super Bowl before.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, are trying to secure the top playoff seed in the NFC . If they are able to do so, someone would need to beat them in Glendale to keep Arizona from becoming the first team to ever play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
These teams have not met since the Chiefs blew out Arizona 31-13 in 2010. Kansas City has won three straight in the series with two lopsided scores. The last time the Cardinals beat the Chiefs was at Sun Devil Stadium in 2001. That being said, Arizona is 2-1 against the AFC West with wins over San Diego (18-17) and Oakland (24-13), and a loss at Denver (41-20) in week 5. Their only other loss this season came in week 12 at Seattle (19-3). Kansas City is 2-1 against the NFC West; the Chiefs lost in San Francisco (22-17), but beat St. Louis (34-7) and Seattle (24-20) at home.
Besides an uncharacteristically flat effort in a 24-20 loss at Oakland in week 12, the Chiefs have played well on the road. Kansas City is 3-3 away from home and 4-2 against the spread. They beat the Dolphins, Chargers, and Bills on the road and played a tight game in San Francisco. Defensively, the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL against the pass, but are bottom-ten against the run. On offense, they make their living running the ball. While quarterback Alex Smith has completed a much higher percentage of his passes in home games, he has just one interception on the road all season, which keeps the Chiefs consistently competitive away from Arrowhead.
The Cardinals will be back at home for their only game in front of friendly fans during a four week stretch. Arizona is 6-0 at home and 5-1 against the spread. They beat the Chargers at home on opening day (18-17), got by the Niners (23-14) in week 3, knocked off Washington (30-20) in week 6, snuck past Philadelphia (24-20) in week 8, blew out St. Louis (31-14) in week 10, and managed a win over Detroit (14-6) in week 11. Against the Lions, the Cards faced another top-ten passing defense, yet managed over 300 yards through the air and covered as three-point favorites.
Each of the Cardinals’ final three games this season are against divisional rivals (at St. Louis in week 15, home to Seattle in week 16, and at San Francisco in week 17). Arizona boasts one of the best run defenses in the league. However, Cardinal running back Andre Ellington is averaging less than three yards per carry in home games this year. New starting QB Drew Stanton is 2-2 under center, and came back to earth against Seattle, going 14 of 26 for 149 yards and one pick (his third in two weeks).
(Photo credit: By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped from its original.)