Cardinals playoff picture: How Arizona can earn an NFC wild-card spot in Week 17

The Cardinals (8-7) are trying to make the NFC playoffs as a wild-card team in the second season with quarterback Kyler Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury. Going into Week 17’s game at the Rams, Arizona is No. 8 on the outside of the tournament.

But despite the disappointment of being upset by the 49ers in Week 16, the Cardinals still are in control of their chances. Here’s what needs to happen for them to get into the playoffs:

1. Cardinals beat the Rams

The Cardinals would get in by simply taking care of their own business, regardless of what happens with the Bears at home against the Packers in same 4:25 p.m. ET window. The Cardinals can improve to 9-7 here while the Rams drop to 9-7. That would give the Cardinals a 3-3 division record while the Rams drop to 2-4 in NFC West play. 

Say the Bears lose to fall to 8-8 while the Cardinals win to get in. The Cardinals would jump up to No. 6 while the Rams get in at No. 7.

Say the Bears win to get to 9-7 while the Cardinals win to get in. That would create a three-way tie with the Rams being left out, with the Bears at No. 6 and the Cardinals at No. 7. 

2. Cardinals tie the Rams; Bears lose to the Packers

In the unlikely event of the Cardinals playing the Rams to an overtime draw, they can still get in. The Cardinals would be 8-7-1, just like the Rams, while the Bears would be 8-8 in this scenario. So the Cardinals get as the No. 6 because of the division-record tiebreaker, with the Rams dropping to No. 7 and the Bears, a half-game back, being eliminated.

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