Still kickin’: Simulate the Cardinals’ playoff odds
Dec 4, 2016, 8:55 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2016, 3:45 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
So they’re still alive and kickin’.
The Arizona Cardinals have put off the end to what looks likely to be a disappointing season that began with Super Bowl aspirations. We say “likely” that 2016 will be disappointing for Cardinals fans because the odds aren’t in Arizona’s favor despite a 31-23 win against Washington where the Cardinals risked it, doused their piping hot biscuit with gravy and looked a lot like last year’s 13-win team.
Still, hope accounts for “Something” as our Dave Burns wrote.
What is that something when it comes to the playoff race?
If you want to find hope without the headache of doing math yourself, the New York Times has a simulator where you can pick which games are won and lost to determine the odds. As it stands, the simulator seems to project Arizona’s chances somewhere from 4 percent to 6 percent after the Washington victory.
Indeed, there are too many things that could happen in the final four weeks to lay out a path to the playoffs. Winning out is the obvious one.
But when it comes to the rest of the league, the Cardinals at 5-6-1 remain 1.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose win Sunday put them in the final NFC wild card spot at 7-5. The Atlanta Falcons are likewise 7-5 but own the NFC South tiebreaker against Tampa Bay.
Ahead of the Cardinals just outside of the playoff picture as of Sunday evening are the Redskins (6-5-1), the Vikings (6-6) and the Packers (6-6). Arizona benefitted from the Saints (5-7) and the Eagles (5-7) losing in Week 13, as they are now chasing the Cardinals.
Who else has the odds for Arizona to make a run for a postseason berth?
FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Cards a 10-percent shot of making the playoffs, though that’s before a potential Seattle victory against Carolina on Sunday Night Football — though a Seattle win should only drop a 4-percent shot of Arizona winning the NFC West division.
Game-by-game, FiveThirtyEight has Arizona having a 50-50 chance of beating Miami on the road next week and a 70-percent shot of defeating New Orleans at home in Week 15. It gives them just a 29-percent chance of winning in Seattle in Week 16 and, finally, a 60-percent chance of finishing with a road win in Los Angeles.