TEMPE, Ariz. -- Sunday’s game in Philadelphia might be a deciding factor in the NFC wild-card race come Week 17.
At 7-4, the seventh-seeded Arizona Cardinals are tied with NFC West bedmate San Francisco, but the 49ers hold the tiebreaker and sit ahead of Arizona in one of two wild-card spots in the NFC. But nipping at the Cardinals’ heels are the Eagles, who were bumped from the NFC East lead by Dallas last week. Philadelphia is 6-5 and currently seeded eighth in the NFC, one spot below the Cards. A win against Arizona would not only match their records at 7-5, but give the Eagles the tiebreaker over the Cards.
Arizona plays San Francisco in the season finale, and the Eagles face the Cowboys. But if the Cardinals win Sunday, the Eagles' game most likely won’t factor into the Cards’ playoff picture.
To get into the sixth wild-card spot this week, the Cardinals will need help. They would need to beat the Eagles, and the Niners would need to lose to the St. Louis Rams. Arizona could end the week seeded fifth if the Cards win and the Niners and the Carolina Panthers both lose. Crazier things have happened.
“(Sunday is) another huge tiebreaker for us,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.
The Cards can separate themselves from the rest of the NFC with a win against the Eagles and a Minnesota win against Chicago. That would put Arizona two games ahead of the next closest team.
The Cards are in the same boat they were in last week: They need to win to keep their hopes alive, and they need teams above them to lose.