Arizona Cardinals NFL: J.J. Watt for sure “will not play Sunday”…but his team plays on Monday

Ahead of the first Monday Night Football in NFL playoff history, the topic of conversation in the Arizona Cardinals‘ world as they prepare to face the Los Angeles Rams for the third time this season is whether star defensive end J.J. Watt will be available due to a serious shoulder injury.

On Wednesday, Watt was “very clear and blunt” when asked the direct question regarding his availability.

Watt’s trick words

I will not be playing on Sunday,” Watt said.

Some were slow to reflect that neither he, nor anyone else on the Cardinals, nor the Rams will be playing on Sunday, since the game is, as we said earlier, on Monday, and after clarifying the point, the former Houston Texans star got serious.

“From a performance standpoint, I’m not going to put myself on the field if it’s going to put my team in a worse situation,” Watt said. “That’s not even a question. I’m not going to step on the field if I am not able to do the things that I need to do to help us win games.”

Returns to practice Thursday

Arizona returns to 100 percent practice this Thursday, a day when Watt is expected to join to test his shoulder and learn, firsthand, if there’s a chance to make his playoff debut with the team that took the longest to lose a game this season.

“If you practice like it’s a game, you don’t have to wonder what the game is going to be like,” Watt said. “If it feels good in practice, it’ll feel good in the game.”

Arizona, the better away team

Last Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks ruined the Redbirds’ chances of clinching the NFC West crown and thus will have to be a visitor in the next Super Bowl, but that’s not necessarily bad news for the Cardinals.

Arizona was 3-5 at home and 8-1 on the road, their record on the road was the best in the entire NFL.

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