NFC playoff picture: Arizona Cardinals still need a win and help to make postseason

Otto Greule Jr

Arizona's big win only keeps the Cardinals from elimination.

The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Seattle Seahawks 17-10 on the road on Sunday. It was their 10th win of the season and their seventh win in their last eight games. They are still alive for the postseason, but that is about it. They did not get any help from anyone.

The Carolina Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints 17-13 to, at least for now, take over the lead in the NFC South. With the win by Carolina, an Arizona eliminates them, from playoff contention.

Here is the situation right now:

Arizona is 10-5 with one to play. They are 2-3 in the division

The San Francisco 49ers are 10-4 with a game on Monday at home against the Atlanta Falcons and then in Arizona against the 49ers.

The Panthers are 11-4 with one game left in Atlanta.

The Saints are 10-5 with one game left at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Currently, Carolina is the number two seed in the NFC, San Francisco is the five seed and the Saints are the six seed, as they hold the head-to-head tiebreak with the Cardinals, who are in seventh place in the conference.

What will it take to get it?

First, Arizona MUST win. There is no avoiding it. Then to get the sixth seed, they need the Niners to lose on Monday to Atlanta and then to Arizona next week. Arizona would be 11-5 and San Fran would be 10-6.

If the Niners beat the Falcons and lose the to Arizona, both teams would be 11-5. The Niners hold the divisional tiebreak. So Arizona needs the Saints to lose at home to the Bucs. The Saints would be bumped out and the Niners and Cards would be the five and six seeds.

The Cardinals could be the five seed. That would happen if San Fran loses to Atlanta and Arizona, Atlanta beats Carolina in Week 17 and the Saints lose to the Bucs. Arizona would be 11-5, San Fran would be 10-6, Carolina would be 11-5 and New Orleans would be 10-6. New Orleans would get the six seed with their head-to-head win over the Niners.

Arizona also gets the five seed if they, the Saints and the Panthers all end up 11-5, but the Niners lose to Atlanta, ending 10-6.

We will ignore any scenarios that have games ending in a tie.

Bottom line? Fans, in addition to rooting for their team in Week 17, also need to root for either the Niners or Saints to lose.

Once again, it looks very unlikely that the Cards can do it, but then again, it was incredibly unlikely that they could have beaten the Seahawks on the road.

Do you believe?

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