Wild-Card Watch: Week 15

December, 10, 2013
12/10/13
4:00
PM ET
TEMPE, Ariz. -- All it took was 15 weeks for the Arizona Cardinals' playoff picture to come into focus.

A few things have to happen, however, but making the postseason as a wild card is still a possibility. Dallas' loss Monday night to Chicago gave Philadelphia a one-game lead in the NFC East but more importantly dropped the Cowboys to ninth in the NFC. That's a good thing for the Cardinals, who would lose the tiebreaker to both the Eagles and the Cowboys.

At 8-5, Arizona is seventh in the NFC, one game behind No. 5 Carolina and No. 6 San Francisco for the wild card, both of which are 9-4.

After reviewing the remaining schedules for Arizona, Carolina, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia, the following scenarios are based on the Cardinals winning two of their final three games against Tennessee, Seattle and San Francisco.

For Arizona to make the playoffs at 10-6, the following would have to happen:
  • Philadelphia would have to go 2-1 and finish one game ahead of Dallas. One of those wins would have to come over the Cowboys in Week 17, keeping the Cowboys below the Cardinals. If the Eagles beat Chicago, they'll eliminate the Bears from reaching 10-6. My prediction: Likely
  • Carolina would have to finish 1-2 or worse. If the Cards and Panthers tie at 10-6, Arizona holds the tie breaker. My prediction: Possible
  • San Francisco would have to finish 0-3. With the Niners at 9-4, Arizona can't jump them if San Francisco wins another game because of the tie breakers. Even if Arizona and San Francisco split their regular-season meetings and finish with the same record, the Niners would win the tie breaker because of their division record. My prediction: Unlikely
NFC STANDINGS
  1. Seattle 11-2 overall, 8-1 NFC
  2. New Orleans 10-3, 8-1
  3. Philadelphia 8-5, 7-2
  4. Detroit 7-6, 6-4
  5. Carolina 9-4, 7-3 (WILD CARD)
  6. San Francisco 9-4, 6-3 (WILD CARD)
  7. Arizona 8-5, 5-5
REMAINING SCHEDULES

Arizona:
Dec. 15 -- at Tennessee
Dec. 22 -- at Seattle
Dec. 29 -- vs. San Francisco

Carolina:
Dec. 15 -- vs. Jets
Dec. 22 -- vs. Saints
Dec. 29 -- at Falcons

San Francisco:
Dec. 15 -- at Tampa Bay
Dec. 22 -- vs. Atlanta
Dec. 29 -- at Arizona

Philadelphia:
Dec. 15 -- at Minnesota
Dec. 22 -- vs. Chicago
Dec. 29 -- at Dallas

Dallas:
Dec. 15 -- vs. Green Bay
Dec. 22 -- at Washington
Dec. 29 -- vs. Philadelphia

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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