How the Arizona Cardinals can clinch a playoff berth vs. the Lions

Dec 15, 2021, 8:23 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2021, 1:13 pm

Kyler Murray #1 and James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals enter the field before the game agains...

Kyler Murray #1 and James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals enter the field before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals missed out on an opportunity to be the first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot this season following the loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.

But it’s not all bad news, as the team gets another crack at securing its first postseason birth since 2015 with a road matchup against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

There are a total of nine different scenarios in which the Cardinals can clinch in Week 15.

Let’s start with the easiest one: a win or tie against the Lions and a playoff spot is secured.

However, should Arizona drop its second consecutive game — and first on the road this season — there are still eight other possible outcomes in Week 15 that could see the Cardinals end their postseason drought.

1. Saints lose or tie, and Vikings lose or tie

The New Orleans Saints (6-7) visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3) on Sunday Night Football, while the Minnesota Vikings (6-7) travel to play the Chicago Bears (4-9) on Monday Night Football.

Cardinals fans will feel torn deciding who to root for in that Saints-Bucs game, however, as Arizona (No. 3) is currently behind Tampa Bay (No. 2) in the NFC Conference standings.


Bucs (-10.5) over Saints
Vikings (-3.5) over Bears

2. Vikings loss or tie, and 49ers loss

In addition to needing Chicago to beat or tie with Minnesota, Arizona would benefit from the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) falling at home to the Atlanta Falcons (6-7).

The good part about this scenario from a Cardinals perspective is that even if both games go array, it opens up the possibility of another way for Arizona to clinch a playoff spot should Detroit win.


49ers (-9.5) over Falcons

3. Saints lose or tie, Eagles lose, Falcons lose or tie, plus Packers win or tie

A unique combo of a Saints loss or tie, Falcons loss or tie, and Green Bay Packers win or tie; combined with a Philadelphia Eagles loss can also catapult Arizona to a postseason berth this week.

The Packers (10-3) visit the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) for a 2:25 p.m. kickoff, while the Eagles (6-7) host the Washington Football Team (6-7) at 11 a.m.

But once again, Cardinals fans will feel torn as the Packers are currently the No. 1 seed in the NFC and own the tiebreaker over Arizona.


Packers (-4.5) over Ravens
Eagles (-7) over Washington

Scenarios 4-8 all require at least one tie, so here are all the possible outcomes:

4. Vikings lose or tie, and Eagles-Washington tie

5. 49ers lose, and Eagles-Washinton tie

6. 49ers tie, Rams lose, and Eagles-Washington tie

7. Saints lose, and Eagles-Washington tie

8. Saints lose, 49ers tie, and Rams lose

The Rams (9-4) host the Seattle Seahawks (5-8) in an NFC West divisional matchup at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at SoFi Stadium.


Rams (-4.5) over Seahawks

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