Breaking Down The Arizona Cardinals Playoff Scenarios


Cardinals fans can rejoice in the knowledge that their team has locked up a playoff spot. Here is a breakdown of the different possible seeds the Cardinals can end up with

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians commented that “It’s going to be a fun week” when discussing all that’s on the line in terms of playoff aspirations in Week 17.  For any football fan, the games that determine playoff presence and seeding can be very exciting ones. The Cardinals secured a spot in the NFC final six a few games ago, and with an 11-4 record, they can be anywhere from the leader of the conference to the sixth seed. Here is a breakdown of what each possible outcome means for the Cardinals as they head into the playoffs.

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Cardinals get the #1 seed if…

For the Cardinals to win the conference, they must beat the 49ers, the Rams must beat the Seahawks in Seattle, and the Lions must beat the Packers in Green Bay. Needless to say, all three of these things aren’t likely to all happen. Logan Thomas will be starting with Drew Stanton injured, and the Seahawks are playing dominant ball and seem unbeatable on their home turf. That said, San Francisco certainly hasn’t been consistently good, and the Rams have a reputation for beating teams they aren’t’ expected to beat. Ultimately. the Cardinals long standing lead over the NFC will likely dissolves, making playoff success more difficult but not impossible.

Cardinals get the #2 seed if…

If the Cards and Rams manage to win, but the Packers defeat the Lions, the Cardinals hold the two seed. This would mean that Arizona’s Super Bowl dreams would likely have to be cleared through the Packers in Wisconsin, which would no doubt be a tall order.

Cardinals get the #5 seed if…

If the Cardinals lose or the Seahawks win, the Seahawks win the division, and the Cardinals are in the wild card slot. This would put them against the winner of the NFC South, meaning they would travel to Atlanta or Carolina. The Falcons play the Panthers on Sunday for all the division marbles.

In this scenario, which is the most likely of the bunch, I think the Cardinals would do better against Carolina, but getting some payback in Atlanta would probably feel good for the Cardinals, whose  #1 seed hopes were dashed partially because Atlanta shut them down in Georgia Dome once this season.

Cardinals are the #6 seed if…

If the Cardinals lose or Seattle wins AND the Packers-Lions game ends in a tie, the Cardinals would be the sixth seed. The Packers and Lions would both be 11-4-1, better than 11-, the Cardinals likely record of 11-5. If this happens, Dallas or Detroit would be the Cards first round opponents.

Overall, the #1 seed is still possible, but the #5 seed is most likely. Regardless of the seed, the Cardinals playoff drought since the departure of Kurt Warner is guaranteed to end, and that makes the  season a success.