How the Cardinals can go from less than 1 percent odds to the playoffs
Somehow, the Arizona Cardinals have made it 13 games into the season with a 6-7 record and remain in the playoff hunt.
They’re on their last breath, and by last we mean, like, very, very last breath.
Let’s get this out of the way: With a single Seattle Seahawks victory in the final three weeks, the Cardinals’ playoff hopes end. The same goes for a single Arizona loss.
Even if the Cardinals win their final three games, the odds they reach the final NFC Wild Card spot are less than 1 percent.
But let’s get “Dumb and Dumber” on you to explain how there’s a chance.
Simply having the Cardinals win out and the Seahawks lose out — Seattle plays Los Angeles, Dallas and Arizona — gives the Cardinals a solid 1 percent shot of making the postseason, per the New York Times’ NFL Playoff Simulator.
Next, let’s take care of the 7-6 Cowboys, who are currently second behind the 11-2 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.
Arizona needs Dallas to beat Seattle in Week 16, but other than that, the Cardinals want Dak Prescott’s squad out of the playoff picture. They face the Raiders this week and Eagles in the season finale. So if the Cowboys sandwiched a win over Seattle with losses, Arizona’s shot of making the postseason reaches 3 percent.
Because the 9-4 Panthers, 9-4 Saints and 8-5 Falcons are fighting for the NFC South, let’s leave the 8-5 Falcons out and assume one of the other two teams grabs a Wild Card spot. Carolina would need to beat Atlanta in Week 17.
But first, a big help would come from the upcoming Monday Night Football game, where the Buccaneers face the Falcons. If Tampa Bay wins, the Saints beat Atlanta in Week 16 and Carolina beats Atlanta in the final game, the Cardinals leap to having an 18 percent shot of making the playoffs.
Now we’re cooking with fire.
Finally, let’s take a peek at the NFC North led by the 11-win Vikings and followed by the 7-6 Detroit Lions and 7-6 Packers.
If both Detroit and Green Bay can only reach eight wins by each winning one of their last three — remember, the Cardinals in this scenario are at nine victories — then Arizona makes the postseason.
There are other scenarios that exist, but they’re few and far between.
The prospects of Arizona winning out and Seattle losing out seem like long odds without the rest of the mess coming together.