The Atlanta Falcons square off against another rather familiar non-divisional NFC foe this weekend, following their defeat to Minnesota. The St. Louis Cardinals turned Phoenix Cardinals turned Arizona Cardinals are in the midst of a seesaw battle of the birds with the Falcons, currently owning a razor thin 17-16 overall series lead.
This was one of just three teams the Falcons beat in their inaugural season in 1966, before the Cards then rattled off five consecutive victories through the ’70s, and 10 out of 13 through 1991. It was a rather one-sided affair, with Arizona owning a 13-7 record before the turn of the millennium.
From 1999 on, however, the pendulum swung in the other direction, with Atlanta rattling off four straight wins and then going 10-4 overall through modern days.
Arizona has the most impactful win on its resume, however, beating the Falcons in the only playoff meeting — the 2008 Wildcard game. That was the beginning of a special run to the Super Bowl for the Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner led Cardinals.
There was nothing but pride to play for when these teams met on New Years Day of this calendar year, each closing out disappointing 2022 seasons and pretty much eliminated from any playoff contention. The Falcons had Desmond Ridder making his home debut, while David Blough was the starter for Arizona.
It was actually an overall thrilling back-and-forth game where the lead changed seven times. Atlanta was powered by its running back duo of Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson, each of whom scored a rushing TD, while James Conner and tight end Trey McBride did the heavy lifting for the Cardinals.
Three of those lead changes came in the fourth quarter, and all of those came by way of field goals. Matt Prater drilled a 57-yard FG with just under 5:00 minutes left to take a 1-point advantage before Ridder and the run game made it all the way inside Arizona’s five-yard-line before Younghoe Koo nailed a chip shot for the win as time expired.
The Falcons won their last game of the season as well to end up 7-10. This game, for Arizona, was in the middle of a seven game losing streak to finish out the season and the Kliff Kingsbury era at 4-13.