ESPN’s Seifert, FPI consider Cardinals a playoff lock despite injuries

Nov 19, 2021, 6:40 PM
Arizona Cardinals free safety Jalen Thompson (34) celebrates his interception against the Carolina ...

Arizona Cardinals free safety Jalen Thompson (34) celebrates his interception against the Carolina Panthers with Cardinals defensive back Chris Banjo (31) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The Arizona Cardinals’ performance through the first 10 games of the season has them considered as a lock for the playoffs.

Despite their playoff chances looking clearer by the week, the same can not be said about any Super Bowl hopes.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert recently put all 32 NFL teams into five tiers based on their playoff chances according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. Arizona has a 99.3% chance to make the playoffs, according to FPI.

Seifert placed the Cardinals in his second tier. The six teams in this tier, including Arizona, are considered playoff locks, but not Super Bowl favorites.

Arizona is below the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans, who are all in Seifert’s first tier.

Seifert said that uncertainty with Arizona’s current injured players, including star quarterback Kyler Murray, kept him from projecting Arizona along with his Super Bowl favorites.

Murray is expected back in the lineup soon, but it’s fair to question the extent to which his mobility will be impacted down the stretch. Perhaps the Cardinals will prove us wrong, but that uncertainty makes it difficult to project the Cardinals among the four or five teams with the best Super Bowl odds. On the other hand, they realistically need to win only two or three more games to lock down a playoff spot.

Murray sat out of Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers for the second consecutive week. Colt McCoy, Murray’s backup, suffered an injury of his own on Sunday with a pectoral strain.

The quarterback position is far from the only position suffering from injuries, though.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins sat out on Sunday for the second straight week with a hamstring injury. Offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Max Garcia also did not play against Carolina. Tight end Maxx Williams is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

The running back position is also heavily affected by injuries. Chase Edmonds is currently on the injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Jonathan Ward also missed Sunday’s game with a concussion.

Key players on defense are also missing. Defensive end J.J. Watt has missed the last three games after being put on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Linebackers Ezekiel Turner and Kylie Fitts along with defensive tackle Rashad Lawrence have been on the injured reserve for multiple weeks.

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