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Friday, December 12, 2008
High stakes for Cardinals and Vikings


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Bears' victory over the Saints on Thursday night puts additional pressure on Minnesota to beat the Cardinals in Week 15. Arizona should feel some urgency, too.

Beating the Vikings would help the Cardinals secure the third seed instead of the fourth seed in the NFC playoff race. If the Cardinals won their wild-card game as the third seed, they would avoid the top-seeded team in the divisional round.

The difference could be between facing the Giants at the Meadowlands, where I would give Arizona little chance at victory, or facing the Panthers at Carolina, where the Cardinals built a 17-3 lead in Week 8 and nearly won the game.

Kurt Warner passed for 381 yards, two touchdowns and a 99.1 rating against the Panthers, completing 71 percent of his passes. The Giants held Warner to one touchdown pass, a 79.9 rating and a 61.5 percent completion rate.