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NFC playoff picture: Hope is not lost, postseason scenarios for Arizona Cardinals

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A look at the likely "hard road" Arizona will have to take to get to the Super Bowl.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals had a chance to clinch the NFC West and the top record in the NFC, gaining home field throughout the playoffs. But a 35-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks changed things.

The result was disappointing, but "you live with it," as head coach Bruce Arians said.

"We still play next week and we'll find out if we'll be division champs," he said after the game. "If not, we'll be a Wild Card team and travel east. It's not the end of the world for us. Obviously, we would have liked to have the easy way, but there are a lot of teams who have gone on the road and done what we want to do. Our goal still hasn't changed."

So, what are the Cardinals' scenarios?

As of right now, they are the number six seed, but they will not likely end up the six seed after Week 17, as it involves a tie.

They can either be the number one seed, the number two seed, number five seed or number six seed. The five seed is the most likely scenario.

How can they be number one? They have to beat the 49ers next week, the Rams have to beat the Seahawks in Seattle and the Lions have to beat the Packers.

They will be the number two seed if they beat the Niners, the Rams beat the Seahawks and the Packers beat the Lions.

They will be the number five seed if Seattle wins, regardless of whether Detroit or Green Bay wins.

They can be the six seed if Seattle wins, the Cardinals lose and the Packers and Lions tie.

Chances are Seattle will win at home against the Rams and either Green Bay or Detroit wins (ties are rare).

As the five seed, Arizona will travel to the NFC South champion, which will either be the Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons. It is still a winnable scenario. If Drew Stanton can return for Wild Card Weekend, they would play an offense-less Panthers or get to have a revenge game in Atlanta.

But there is still a chance at a playoff bye.

No matter what, though, Arizona is in the postseason. Anything can happen then. Let's just hope it's not a one-and-done scenario.