There are several teams trying to fight to get thru the small playoff window in the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals have a small crack that is still available, but will need help to climb through.
After breaking down the second half schedule, there are a few avenues that can lead the Cardinals through the proverbial playoff window.
Currently, there are eight teams ahead of the Cards, and four of the teams are upcoming opponents the second half of the season.
The Seattle Seahawks appear to have a stranglehold on the west division with a two-game lead with seven to play. After the lackluster performance for the Cards in a win against the 49ers, the Redbirds figured that they would get some help from the New England Patriots to beat the Seattle Seahawks and allow them to pull to within one game of the division lead.
The Hawks destroyed those hopes with an impressive road win in Foxboro against the best team in the league on a short week, and now the Seahawks are now the team to beat in the power rankings.
So with the division win looking unlikely, the Cardinals have to go the hard way in and will need a boost to reach the playoff window.
The Seahawks play the Eagles, and the way the Hawks are playing it should be some help to the Cardinals and another team they could jump past in the playoff race.
Should the Cardinals beat the Vikings they would jump past both the Eagles and Vikings and be in the seventh spot, but could also be the number six seed should the Redskins lose to the struggling Packers.
Should the Cardinals fall to the Vikings they could drop from eighth place all the way to 12th or even thirteenth depending on which teams win or lose this week.
Bottom line, the Arizona Cardinals need to win this week on the road in Minnesota, and at Atlanta the following week to get themselves seriously involved in the playoff hunt.
Heads Coach Bruce Arians team has yet to look like the team predicted to win the NFC, and wins against their next three opponents can be a springboard to prepare them going into the playoffs.
Cards are a mash unit on the injury front, and hopefully will be getting key players back for the road games coming up. One thing is for certain if they continue to play the way they have the first half of the season, this season will be over and a sure disappointing failure and drastic changes will be in order.