PHOENIX - The Cardinals entered the bye week with a 27-13 win over Atlanta. Now, the Cards hope they didn't lose momentum.
That's the question as Arizona prepares to host Houston in front of the 80th straight sellout at University of Phoenix Stadium.
"It was great for the entire team to get off their feet for a little while," said quarterback Carson Palmer. "It just kind of gives you a chance to recharge."
For example, the time off provided receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) a chance to heal.
Can the Cardinals (4-4) get healthy in the standings with a pair of winnable games straight ahead in the Texans (2-6) and Jaguars (4-4)? Houston has lost six straight games, which ties a franchise record.
However, QB Case Keenum has four TD passes and no interceptions in his two starts compared to former starter Matt Schaub, who had eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. In other words, the Texans' disappointing record might prove deceiving for a team that was a popular Super Bowl pick before being ravaged by injuries and turnovers.
"They're extremely well-coached and they're loaded with talent," Bruce Arians said. "How they are 2-6 is beyond me."
The Cardinals head coach is very familiar with the Texans after earning NFL Coach of the Year honors last season with the division rival Indianapolis.
Arians is also familiar with the task facing interim head coach Wade Phillips, who replaces Gary Kubiak after the 52-year-old collapsed on the sidelines of last Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts and was hospitalized for what was described as a "mini-stroke."
A year ago, Arians took over as interim coach of the Colts, leading Indy to a 9-3 record, after Chuck Pagano left the team for medical reasons.
"It was certainly shocking what happened in the ball game and the aftermath of that," Phillips said. "We're certainly glad that he's getting better. We've had kind of an upside down season. Generally, things haven't been going our way very well. This was another example of that."
Kubiak served as Texans play-caller, so that duty now falls to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Does that impact the Cards defensive game plan? Yes indeed.
"Once you have a different play caller, that's a change," Arians said. "There are no tendencies. You throw that out the window. There's nothing we have on Rick Dennison other than a half of football (Sunday)."
On the Arizona sideline, fans wonder how often Bruce Arians will call the number of rookie running back Andre Ellington considering that he leads the NFL at 7.7 yards per carry for players with a minimum of 40 attempts and just ran for 154 yards on 15 carries in the win over the Falcons.