Usually, when week 17 of the regular season rolls around, the majority of NFL teams rest their star players either to prepare them for the playoffs ahead or because they're not in with a chance of postseason football, there's no point of risking them.
Not the Arizona Cardinals, as they elected to player their starters like quarterback Carson Palmer. They lost 36-6 to the Seattle Seahawks, so it didn't make a difference really.
However, it may have made a difference later in the playoffs against the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship game, as they lost 49-15 with Palmer throwing four interceptions.
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The quarterback and his head coach Bruce Arians cited on the team's website that his finger injury was not the reason for the Cardinals loss, but Arians wished he had rested him in week 17.
We know Arians had a good reason to play Palmer back in week 17, as his team still had an opportunity to overtake the Panthers for the first seed in the NFC, which could have determined the outcome of the playoffs differently. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though isn't it.
It's a bit difficult to sit your quarterback when a better spot in the playoffs is on the line, and when he is having a career year. 2015 was a career-best for Palmer in passing yards (4,671), touchdowns (35), interceptions (11), and quarterback rating (104.6).
Palmer has decided to sit out the Pro Bowl this season, as have a staggering amount of other players originally selected have chosen to do so as well, but if the Cardinals could go back in time, they wouldn't be playing him in week 17 either.
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