Wild Card Watch: Week 16

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
1:53
PM ET
TEMPE, Ariz. – With two weeks left in the 2013 season, only one NFC playoff spot has been secured.

The rest aren’t just up for grabs but it’ll be a wild race to determine division champions and the two wild card teams. Heading into Week 16, the Cardinals are 9-5 and sitting at seventh in the NFC, one place out of the wild card.

Just for your knowledge, San Francisco, New Orleans and Carolina are all 10-4.

There’s still a lot that can happen, but in order for the Cardinals to get in the playoffs as a wild card the stars need to align in an exact row. The most cut-and-dry scenario is that Carolina loses its next two games and all Arizona would need to do is split so both teams would be at 10-6, with the Cards owning the tie breaker.

For the sake of your sanity and mine, ties weren’t considered in this week’s scenarios. Here’s a breakdown of the possibilities:

If the Cardinals are 11-5, they will get in the playoffs if…
  • SF finishes 1-1, Carolina goes 2-0 and New Orleans closes 0-2 = 5th seed
  • SF finishes 1-1 and Carolina goes 0-2 = 6th seed
  • SF finishes 0-2 and Carolina goes 2-0 = 5th seed if New Orleans goes 0-2, 6th seed if New Orleans is 1-1.
  • SF finishes 0-2 and Carolina goes 1-1 = 5th seed
  • SF finishes 0-2 and Carolina goes 0-2 = 5th seed

If the Cardinals are 10-6, they will get in the playoffs if…
  • SF finishes 2-0 and Carolina goes 0-2 = 6th seed
  • SF finishes 1-1, with loss to AZ, Carolina goes 0-2 = 6th seed

Not to go into ties, but according to Elias, if Arizona goes 1-0-1 and New Orleans finishes 0-2, the Cardinals will be the sixth seed.

Other notes to know…

If Carolina wins Sunday, it clinches a playoff berth.

If San Francisco wins Sunday, it also clinches a playoff berth.

*However, it’s important to note that just because they clinch a spot, that doesn’t mean Arizona is eliminated.

Tiebreakers:
  • Arizona owns the tie breaker over Carolina.
  • SF and New Orleans, however, own the tie breaker over Arizona.

Make sense? OK, good.

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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