ESPN’s Clayton: Cardinals’ playoff odds rest on next 4 games

Oct 4, 2016, 8:00 PM | Updated: Oct 5, 2016, 11:25 am
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) escapes the tackle of Los Angeles Rams cornerback E...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) escapes the tackle of Los Angeles Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (33) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Only 14 percent of NFL teams that began their season with a 1-3 record have recovered to reach the playoffs.

That’s the very large pill the Arizona Cardinals must somehow swallow leading into a short week where their starting quarterback might not be cleared to play. Take a look at their roster, however, and there’s still reason to believe coach Bruce Arians’ team has a shot at recovering to make the postseason.

ESPN’s John Clayton ranked the Cardinals behind the Carolina Panthers as the second most-likely team that can overcome a 1-3 start to the season.

The next four games are critical to determine if this talented Cardinals team can turn things around before a bye in Week 9. They have winnable night games coming up against the 49ers and Jets, followed by a home game against the Seahawks, then a NFC Championship Game rematch with the Panthers in Carolina. If they can get to the bye at 4-4, they can crawl back into the playoff race.

Getting back to the .500 mark by that bye week requires a 3-1 record during that span, a task made more difficult with Drew Stanton perhaps needing to start against San Francisco in place of Carson Palmer, who is attempting to pass concussion tests this week.

However, the optimist might point toward Tyrann Mathieu’s return to his more familiar role as the slot corner, as well as the similarly-rickety starts to 2016 by expected NFC powers in Seattle and Carolina.

That, of course, puts much importance on their upcoming battles against Arizona.

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ESPN’s Clayton: Cardinals’ playoff odds rest on next 4 games