How the Arizona Cardinals can clinch the NFC West by doing nothing
By Erich Becker
Three scenarios have the Arizona Cardinals taking the NFC West this weekend, but one of them will surprise you.
The Arizona Cardinals are in the playoffs, that much was certain when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football last week to kick off Week 14. With a Seattle loss they could have clinched the division at the same time, but that wasn’t going to happen with the way the Seahawks are playing right now.
As the Cardinals, and the rest of the NFL, enter into Week 15, three scenarios are in play for the division and the 2nd seed in the NFC.
NFC West Division Title
- Cardinals win or tie
- Seattle loss or tie
Now it gets interesting. Because of the series of tie-breakers that the NFL uses, it is actually possible for the Cardinals to win the division by losing and Seattle winning. Using strength of victory, the Cardinals will win the division if:
- Cincinnati wins over the 49ers
- New Orleans wins over the Lions
- Dallas loses to the Jets
- Steelers lose to Denver
Realistically, this could have been a no-brainer a week ago when Andy Dalton was still playing QB for the Bengals and Brock and the Boys were not bumbling dropped passes in Denver. So it is just something that will have to play out over the course of Sunday, however it is very possible that the Monday Night game of the Saints and Lions could clinch the division for the Cardinals 24 hours after they played, if they were to lose Sunday Night.
First Round Bye For the bye, it is pretty simple, only one team stands between the Cardinals and a week off starting the playoffs, with an Arizona win on Sunday night the Cardinals will already know if the 1:05PM MST game between the Packers and Raiders ends in a Packers victory, the bye would be determined in the Cardinals vs. Packers Week 16 matchup in Glendale. If Arizona ties and Green Bay loses, the Cardinals clinch. If Arizona wins and Green Bay loses or ties, we clinch.
All in all, Week 15 is shaping up to be the first domino that will start to make up the landscape for the Cardinals and the rest of the NFL.