With another week in the books it's time to take another look at the NFC Playoff picture and where your very own Arizona Cardinals stand amongst their playoff foes. Per boogatt's request, we'll try to include some 'what if' scenarios to paint a better 'mental picture' of what the Cardinals will face in January.
1. New York Giants (11-3): They might be struggling more than the Cardinals after two straight losses but they're still in control of thier own destiny. The remaining schedule is tough though with the Panthers at home and a road trip to Minny.
2. Carolina Panthers (11-3): The Panthers are looking awful good right now and they control their own destiny. A win this Sunday against the Giants would put them in the drivers seat for the #1 seed. They're final game of the season is a road game against the Saints.
3. Minnesota Vikings (9-5): A big win over our Cardinals has the Vikes all but locked into the #3 seed. They could conceivably still lose the North and miss the playoffs all together if they can't stay ahead of the Bears. They do finish the season at home though with games against the Falcons and Giants.
4. Arizona Cardinals (8-6): The Cards are stumbling to the finish line and they look like a team that needs a breather. It'll be interesting how much, if any, rest some key players get over the next two games. They're almost locked into the fourth seed (they'd have to win out and Minny would have to lose out to move up) so with nothing to play for, they might rest some veterans. The remaining schedule includes a trip to New England before one final home game against the SeaBirds.
5. Dallas Cowboys (9-5): Don't look now but the Boys are streaking to the playoffs and could very well be headed to the desert in the first round. They're remaining schedule is still brutal with the Ravens at home before traveling to an ultra-hot Philadelphia, but there a scenarios in which they could clinch this Saturday.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5): The Bucs seem destined for the wild card spot considering how well the Panthers are playing but their remaining schedule should get them in. After all if you can't beat SD and OAK at home, you don't deserve a playoff spot.
Best of the Rest:
Atlanta (9-5) - @MIN, STL - A win over Minny would really help their cause
Philadelphia (8-5-1) - @WAS, DAL -A team that's very hot but they still need help to get in
Chicago (8-6) - GB, @HOU - They're scoreboard watching and running the table might not matter
The picture could become very clear after this weekend or it could be just as murky next week. Here's a link with what each team needs to 'clinch' their respective spots.