Cardinals playoff picture: Breaking down Arizona’s seeding scenarios in 2022 NFL bracket

The Cardinals were once considered the team to beat in the NFC. However, a three-game losing streak ultimately saw them fall through the ranks. They have clinched a playoff spot, but their seed potential is volatile.

The Packers have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so the Cardinals will play wild card weekend. The question is whether he will be at home or on tour as a Wild Card.

Currently, the Cardinals are the No. 5 seed in the NFC. They will most likely stay in that spot, but they still have a chance to climb the ladder and win the NFC West.

Below is a breakdown of each seed option for the Cardinals and which teams could end up playing in the postseason.

How the Cardinals can secure the No. 2 seed

The Cardinals need a lot of things to break in their direction to win the No. 2 seed. They are as follows:

  • Arizona must beat Seattle AND
  • San Francisco Must Beat Los Angeles Rams AND
  • Carolina must beat Tampa Bay.

If those results happen, the Cardinals would be in a two- or three-way tie for second place in the NFC with the Buccaneers and / or the Cowboys. Arizona has a better divisional record than the Bucs and would have a better conference record if the Bucs also lose in Week 18, so they would own the tiebreaker over them. The same can be said for the Cowboys.

That said, the 49ers and Panthers opened the week as underdogs, making this the most unlikely scenario for the team.

How the Cardinals can win the No. 3 seed

The road to the No. 3 seed is a bit easier for the Cardinals, as it would only require a significant upset in a game of divisional rivalry.

  • Arizona must beat Seattle AND
  • San Francisco Must Beat Los Angeles Rams AND
  • Tampa Bay must beat Carolina

The only difference in this scenario is that the Buccaneers would have to win for the Cardinals to be the No. 3 seed. That would leave the Bucs 13-4 compared to the Cardinals 12-5, so the Cardinals couldn’t beat them at through tiebreakers.

Instead, Arizona would be the No. 3 seed regardless of the outcome in the Cowboys vs. Eagles. The Cardinals beat the Cowboys head to head, so they have the tiebreaker over Dallas.

Can the Cardinals be the No. 4 seed?

The Cardinals can’t be the No. 4 seed. If they win and the Rams lose, the Cardinals are guaranteed the second or third seed. Why? Because they would win the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys and emerge victorious in a three-way tie if the Buccaneers lose to the Panthers. That keeps them from falling to the No. 4 seed.

How the Cardinals can win the No. 5 seed

The No. 5 seed remains the Cardinals’ most likely outcome. That’s where they are listed at the moment. They only need one of two results for it to occur:

  • Arizona loses or draws against Seattle OR
  • Los Angeles loses or draws against San Francisco

If either of these results occurs, the Rams will have a better record than the Cardinals and win the NFC West. That said, the Cardinals, with 11 wins, can’t get caught in the wild-card race, so if they don’t win the NFC West, they will be the fifth seed.

Possible playoff opponents for the Cardinals

The Cardinals could face five potential opponents in the NFC playoffs. They are as follows:

  • If the Cardinals are the No. 2 seed, they will host the Eagles.
  • If the Cardinals are the No. 3 seed, they will host the 49ers.
  • If the Cardinals are the No. 5 seed, they will play on the road against the Buccaneers, Rams or Cowboys.

The Cowboys remain the Cardinals’ most likely opponent, as Dallas has the most combinations of results that keep it the No. 4 seed. And the Cardinals have a 77 percent chance of being the No. 5 seed. , for five thirty-eight, so a Cardinals-Cowboys rematch appears to be the most likely outcome.