DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals refuse to believe they’re out of the playoff hunt, even though they have almost twice as many losses as wins.
“Our goal was to make it to the postseason, and we still have a shot, as crazy as that seems,” Detroit’s Brock Marion said. “Mathematically, I don’t know how so many teams could be 4-7, but we’re one of them, and that means we’re only a game out of it.”
The Lions and Cardinals are two of seven NFC teams with 4-7 records. They’re only one game behind the New York Giants and St. Louis in the lackluster conference.
The reeling Lions have lost five straight since starting 4-2. Arizona has dropped two in a row.
“Somebody that is 4-7 is probably going,” Arizona coach Dennis Green said. “I guess some people say that Arizona doesn’t count, but I don’t buy that. Why should the Arizona Cardinals be the only 4-7 team that doesn’t believe they can go to the playoffs?”
The Cardinals are turning to a quarterback few probably know in Arizona — but who is very familiar in Michigan.
Ex-Wolverine John Navarre will become Arizona’s third starting quarterback in four games Sunday at Ford Field, about 45 miles east of where he was a starter for three-plus seasons.
Navarre led Michigan to the Big Ten title last year and set several career and single-season records at the University, but he received hate mail earlier in his career because of his uneven play.
“The experiences I’ve been through in my career did nothing but prepare me for situations down the road in my career that I’m in now and definitely in life in social settings,” said Navarre, a seventh-round pick who will be taking his first snap in an NFL regular-season game Sunday. “I’m definitely going to take those learning experiences with me.”
Navarre will be the seventh Michigan quarterback in two decades to start an NFL game, following Drew Henson, Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Todd Collins, Elvis Grbac and Jim Harbaugh.
Marion said he won’t underestimate the young quarterback. He said he did that once, and Jim Druckenmiller made him regret it when he led San Francisco to a win over Marion and the Dallas Cowboys.
“We thought we were going to crush that young kid, and he ate our lunch,” Marion said. “Even though Arizona is on its third quarterback, we’re not in a position to take anyone lightly.”
Arizona might have other changes in its lineup as well. The NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, might not play because of a toe injury. Green had declared him out this week, but later said he was questionable because of his amazing ability to heal.
If Larry Croom starts at running back, he will be the fourth rookie in Arizona’s offensive lineup joining Navarre, receiver Larry Fitzgerald and center Alex Stepanovich.
While Green has benched quarterbacks Josh McCown and Shaun King, Lions coach Steve Mariucci is sticking with Joey Harrington, though he’s in a slump. In the past four games, he has thrown just two TDs with three interceptions.
Mariucci replaced Harrington with Mike McMahon late in the third quarter last week against Indianapolis, but he’s not ready to give up on 2002’s No. 3 pick overall.