ARIZONA CARDINALS

Playoff odds project well for Cardinals after win over Giants

Dec 14, 2020, 9:37 AM | Updated: 5:08 pm
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury makes a call during the second half of an NFL football...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury makes a call during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury made sure to point out the New York Giants had a lot to play for on Sunday. But the Cardinals’ Week 14 win was crucial for them, too.

The Giants lost their hold on the NFC East to Washington when Arizona visited MetLife Stadium on Sunday and left with a 26-7 victory.

It was as close to backbreaking as it can get for New York.

“That’s a good team that had won four in a row,” Kingsbury said Sunday. “They were playing for first place, they had everything to play for as well, so to come in here and do it in that fashion I believe will build confidence moving forward.”

For the Cardinals, the game was a monumental shot in the arm for, not only their confidence, but their playoff hopes. They jumped the Minnesota Vikings to take hold of the final NFC Wild Card slot with three games to play, and Arizona now has a strong case to hold it.

The Cardinals (7-6) have a full game up on the 6-7 Vikings and Chicago Bears, who play one another next week.

There’s also Washington (6-7), New York (5-8), Detroit (5-8), San Francisco (5-8), and even the Cardinals’ next opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles (4-8), who are still reasonably capable of impacting the Wild Card situation.

Here’s what a number of analytical models say about the Cardinals’ chances of hanging on.

ESPN

ESPN’s Seth Walder gives Arizona a 57.2% chance of making the postseason, and he’s broken it down by odds for making each seed.

There’s a 33.3% shot of the Cardinals hanging on to the No. 7 seed but a 14.7% shot of moving to sixth and 7.7% odds they can surge to fifth with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) and Seattle Seahawks (9-4) ahead of them in the standings.

FiveThirtyEight.com

According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Arizona’s win against New York improved its playoff standing by 30% from last week.

That leap, of course, was aided by the Vikings’ loss to the Buccaneers, as well as losses by the Lions and 49ers in Week 14.

The Cardinals have a 54% shot at making the playoffs by this model. A win this coming week against the Eagles would improve Arizona’s chances of making the postseason to 69%.

Another victory in the penultimate game of 2020 gives them 91% odds heading into a season finale against the Rams.

NBC

NBC political analyst Steve Kornacki was back at it on Sunday Night Football, keeping us updated on the playoff races across the NFL.

Using Pro Football Focus’ projection models, the Cardinals have improved their playoff hopes significantly.

“Look at that gap, a 61% shot for the Cardinals to make the playoffs,” Kornacki said. “Minnesota, Chicago chasing them. Very, very limited chances for those teams in comparison.”

The Vikings (17%) and Bears (14%) need to play catchup in a major way.

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