With five weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture becomes a weekly thing to look at, especially because the Arizona Cardinals are in the middle of the playoff hunt. Actually, they are not in the middle. They are at the top and control their destiny.
Despite their 19-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona still owns the best record in the NFL and currently sits atop of the NFC with a one-game lead over the Green Bay Packers for the number one seed overall.
The playoff standings look this currently:
1. Arizona Cardinals 9-2, 7-1 in NFC, 2-1 in division
2. Green Bay Packers 8-3, 6-3 in NFC, 4-1 in division
3. Philadelphia Eagles 8-3, 4-3 in NFC, 2-1 in division
4. Atlanta Falcons 4-7, 4-4 in NFC, 4-0 in division
5. Dallas Cowboys 8-3, 5-3 in NFC, 2-1 in division
6. Seattle Seahawks 7-4, 5-2 in NFC, 1-1 in division
And these teams are in the mix for the wild card:
7. Detroit Lions 7-4, 5-2 in NFC, 2-0 in division
8. San Francisco 49ers 7-4, 6-3 in NFC, 1-2 in division
Arizona technically has a two-game lead over Green Bay for the best record. The two teams will not play one another in the regular season, so if they were to end with the same record, their conference record would be the tie breaker. Arizona has the edge at 7-1 against the NFC.
Seattle is currently in the final wild card spot because they hold a division tie breaker to pass the Niners and then they have a better record in common games than the Lions.
Arizona actually holds an advantage over almost every team either in position to make the postseason and the ones in the mix. They do not hold one over the Falcons, but play them this weekend. Only Seattle will hold a tiebreaking advantage for a few weeks. They play the Cardinals again in Week 16. If Arizona wins, any tiebreaking scenario will go from head-to-head to record in the division.
The NFC South is a mess. Atlanta is 4-7 and leads the division. The Saints are very much in the mix, though. They also have a 4-7 record, but are 2-1 in division play, which gives Atlanta the edge. New Orleans' remaining schedule, though, is one of the easiest in the league.
Any way you look at it, Arizona still is in control. They have the Falcons, Chiefs, Rams, Seahawks and Niners remaining in their final five games. The Packers have the Patriots, Falcons, Bills, Buccaneers and Lions left on their schedule.