ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s John Clayton: Cardinals winning out a difficult task

Dec 9, 2016, 12:50 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2016, 10:50 am

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marcus Cooper (41) stops Washington Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant ...

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Marcus Cooper (41) stops Washington Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant (14) short of the goal line during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL insider

The best chance for the Arizona Cardinals to make the playoffs this year is to win nine games, according to a pair of ESPN analysts. Meaning the Cardinals would need to win their final four games.

Is it possible? Yes. But it’s a difficult task that ESPN’s John Clayton thinks is unattainable.

“It’s going to be very difficult,” Clayton told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf on Friday. “The standard right now is that sixth spot and I think it’s going to be nine wins. If they can sweep out and get to 9-6-1 then yeah they can do that. But I think if there is one more loss in there, then I don’t think it will happen. That loss could be Sunday, it could be against the Seattle Seahawks.”

Traveling to the East Coast hasn’t been kind to the Cardinals this year, as they are 0-4 when traveling east of the Rockies with losses to Buffalo, Carolina, Minnesota and Atlanta.

The Cardinals are 1-4 on the road, with their lone win coming in Week 5 against San Francisco, and play three of their final four games away from University of Phoenix Stadium. They host New Orleans next week before closing out the season with road games in Seattle and Los Angeles.

The Seahawks have been on a tear of sorts since tying the Cardinals back in Week 7, going 4-2 to hold a strong grip on the NFC West with an 8-3-1 record.

If the playoffs started Friday, Dallas and Seattle would be the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, followed by Detroit and Atlanta, with New York and Tampa Bay holding down the two wild card spots.

If the Cardinals are to make the playoffs, they are going to need some help in leap-frogging Green Bay, Minnesota, Washington and Tampa Bay to secure the final spot.

“You look at the dynamics, you know the Giants are going to win 10 or 11, most likely 10,” Clayton said. “Is it going to be Minnesota? I think the nine is going to be dangling there as a possibility, even Tampa Bay at 7-5, I don’t see them being nine. So even nine is a possibility, but to get nine means a sweep.”

While Clayton doesn’t seem confident in the Cardinals ability to win out and finish 9-6-1, fellow ESPN NFL insider Ron Jaworski thinks otherwise.

“I think there’s more than hope, I think they’re going to be a playoff team,” Jaworski told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo on Thursday. “I believe the Cardinals will be a playoff team. (Finishing) 9-6-1 will get them in the playoffs. I think they can win their next four games. Obviously, the big test is going to be the Seattle Seahawks, but the other games are winnable football games. Call me crazy but that’s how I see it. I got excited over that win against the Redskins.”

Jaworski points to coach Bruce Arians’ decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Cardinals’ 34-yard line in their 31-23 win over the Redskins as reasons why the team could be dangerous down the stretch. It’s reminiscent of last year’s successful 13-3 team that fell one win shy of the Super Bowl, and Arians’ philosophy of his “no risk-it, no biscuit” ways.

“It was reckless going for it,” Jaworski said. “Teams like this are very hard to play against because they’re willing to try anything. It’s a desperate football team.”

Arizona Cardinals

Brandon Aiyuk...

Kevin Zimmerman

49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk fuels contract dispute talk with former ASU teammate Jayden Daniels

San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk posted a conversation with former Arizona State teammate Jayden Daniels to TikTok Monday.

10 hours ago

Michael Wilson looks on...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Michael Wilson, Marvin Harrison Jr. building off one another

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Wilson has been a valuable resource for fellow wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and vice versa.

13 hours ago

Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game at St...

Arizona Sports

PFF: Cardinals’ overall offense in 2023 among worst in NFL despite league-best rushing attack

Although the Cardinals' offense was among the worst in the NFL overall, its rushing attack graded out as the best, according to PFF.

2 days ago

Marvin Harrison Jr....

Arizona Sports

Cardinals rookies Marvin Harrison Jr., Darius Robinson throw out 1st pitch at D-backs game

The Arizona Cardinals' rookie class took to Chase Field to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Angels.

4 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Can the Arizona Cardinals’ elite rushing attack take a step up this season?

Can the Arizona Cardinals' elite rushing attack take a step up this season? Ron Wofley and Paul Calvisi debate.

4 days ago

Max Melton at Cardinals minicamp...

Tyler Drake

Max Melton, Elijah Jones ‘growing together’ alongside Arizona’s young CBs

The makeup of the Cardinals CBs room calls for added competition. It also brings a level of togetherness that's been on display early on.

4 days ago

ESPN’s John Clayton: Cardinals winning out a difficult task