NFC Playoffs: Arizona Jockeying for Position

Although the Arizona Cardinals' playoff ticket has already been punched, there is still plenty to be determined over the final three weeks of the season. The Cardinals still have an outside chance of securing the second seed in the NFC but will more than likely be battling it out for the third or fourth spot. Brad Wilbricht dissects Arizona's playoff possibilities along with the rest of the NFC.

Following a win against the St. Louis Rams, the Arizona Cardinals clinched their first division title in 33 years and will host a playoff game for the first time since 1947. The NFC playoff picture is becoming clearer by the week but there are still numerous scenarios that could come to fruition. Several playoff contenders face off in the final three weeks of the year, setting up a dramatic conclusion to the season.

The New York Giants are clinging to the NFC's best record at 11-2, one game ahead of the Carolina Panthers. New York and Carolina both control their own destines and are in line to receive first-round byes. The two teams square off in Week 16, with the winner having the inside track at the conference's number one seed. With the Giants dealing with injuries and off-field issues, their lack of focus cold lead to a late-season collapse.


QB Tony Romo
(Getty)

Chasing New York in the NFC East are the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas is currently 8-5 and would snag the final wild-card spot if the regular season ended today. However, with a brutal remaining schedule, the Cowboys may open the door for their competition. A tie against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals could end up costing Philadelphia a berth in the postseason. Nonetheless, the Eagles will have one more shot against Dallas as they host the Cowboys in Week 17.

Meanwhile in the NFC South, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one game back of Carolina. With an easier remaining schedule, the Buccaneers still have a shot at the division crown. Although they're tied with Dallas with a record of 8-5, the Atlanta Falcons would currently be left out of the playoffs. The Cowboys have a better conference record, thus edging the Falcons for the final wild-card spot in the NFC. Additionally, the New Orleans Saints are still alive with a record of 7-6.

Like New Orleans, the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins were holding onto slim playoff hopes coming into this week. Both Green Bay and Washington lost their respective games making their road to the playoffs nearly impossible. The Packers have a record of 5-8 and are three games out in the NFC North division. The Redskins have been competitive in the NFC East but are currently last in the division with a 7-6 record.

Another crucial matchup with playoff implications takes place in the desert this week as the Cardinals welcome the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams hold a record of 8-5 and the winner will emerge as the favorite for the third playoff seed. While Arizona has already wrapped up the division, Minnesota looks to hold off a late run by the Chicago Bears.


Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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