If the Cardinals lose and the Rams win this weekend, L.A. will have clinched the NFC West title.
The Arizona Cardinals led the NFC West for basically the entire season until last week. After three straight losses and four Rams wins in a row, the Cardinals now trail by a game.
The Rams can actually clinch the division with a week left in the regular season.
They have two scenarios to clinch.
The Rams will win the NFC West if they beat the Baltimore Ravens this weekend and the Cardinals lose their game to the Dallas Cowboys or if the game ends in a tie.
The Rams also win if they tie with the Ravens and the Cardinals lose.
If the Rams lose and the Cardinals win, Arizona will actually retake the division lead. Both teams would be 11-5 but the Cardinals would hold the divisional tiebreak, leading to a season finale where the division is on the line.
The Cardinals lost their division lead to the Rams in Week 16. Despite three straight losses, the Cardinals can still win the NFC West.
The Arizona Cardinals are in the postseason and will be at least a wild card team after their final two games of the regular season. However, for the first time this season, they now trail in the NFC West standings. They are one game behind the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams overtook the Cardinals with a 30-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings, improving to 11-4, while the Cardinals lost 22-16 to the Indianapolis Colts, dropping them to 10-5.
With two games to go in the regular season, the Cardinals can still win the NFC West.
There are two scenarios.
In one, the Cardinals must win both remaining games, on the road against the Dallas Cowboys and at home against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams must lose at least one of their final two games, on the road against the Baltimore Ravens or at home against the San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals would be 12-5 and the Rams either are 12-5 or 11-6. If the Rams finish 12-5 with the Cardinals, Arizona wins the division with a 5-1 division record over L.A.’s 4-2.
In the other, if the Rams lose their final two games, the Cardinals can lose to Dallas and still win the division by beating the Seahawks. They would both be 11-6 but the Cardinals win by the divisional tiebreaker again.
Of course, with the Cardinals having lost their last three games and the Rams having won their last four, unless something changes quickly, it feels like how the standings are is how they will finish in two weeks.
The Cardinals and the Rams are now both 10-4 with three games left in the season.
The Arizona Cardinals lost their second straight game on Sunday, an embarrassing 30-12 defeat to the Detroit Lions, who entered the week 1-11-1. However, after Week 15 concluded, they were still in first place in the NFC West, even though the Los Angeles Rams tied them with their 10-4 record.
Here is what the NFC West now looks like entering Week 16.
Arizona Cardinals, 10-4
Los Angeles Rams, 10-4
San Francisco 49ers, 8-6
Seattle Seahawks, 5-9
The Cardinals maintain their first-place position because of a divisional record tiebreaker. The Cardinals and Rams split their season series 1-1, but the Cardinals are 4-1 in the division, while the Rams are 3-2, each with one game to go in the NFC West in Week 18.
Let’s look at what happened in Week 15 in the division and what is coming up.
Despite the loss to the Rams, the Cardinals still control the NFC West. We look at the many ways they can clinch the division.
The Arizona Cardinals missed an opportunity to clinch a postseason berth Monday night and they could have basically wrapped up the NFC West if they had beaten the Los Angeles Rams. However, the Rams beat Arizona 30-23 and pulled within one game of the Cardinals.
Arizona’s magic number to clinch the division is still four with four games remaining.
Any combination of Cardinals wins and Rams losses leading to four will give the Cardinals the division title.
These are their remaining schedules:
Week 15 on the road against the Detroit Lions
Week 16 at home on Christmas Day against the Indianapolis Colts
Week 17 on the road against the Dallas Cowboys
Week 18 at home against the Seattle Seahawks
Week 15 at home against the Seahawks
Week 16 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings
Week 17 on the road against the Baltimore Ravens
Week 18 at home against the San Francisco 49ers
However, the Cardinals can also reduce their magic number by an additional one because of tiebreakers.
The Cardinals and Rams tied their season series, so the next tiebreaker is division record.
The Cardinals are 4-1 in the NFC West and the Rams are now 2-2. A win by the Cardinals over the Seahawks in Week 18 or a loss by the Rams to either the Seahawks in Week 15 or the 49ers in Week 18 will take an extra game off the magic number. So if the Rams lose next weekend, even if the Cardinals were to lose to the Lions, their magic number would drop to two because of the Rams’ loss and clinching the division tiebreaker.
If the Cardinals lose to the Seahawks in Week 18 and the Rams beat both the Seahawks and 49ers, then the Cardinals would need to look to the next tiebreaker — common opponents.
The Cardinals will have 12 games against common opponents — four against the Seahawks and 49ers, four against the teams in the NFC North and four against the teams in the AFC South. Thus far, the Cardinals are 8-1 in those games and the Rams are 6-3 with three games remaining. The Cardinals have the Lions, Colts and Seahawks, while the Rams have the 49ers, Seahawks and Vikings.
The Seahawks and 49ers games don’t matter because if the Cardinals win or the Rams lose, the common opponent tiebreaker doesn’t come into play.
But if the Cardinals beat the Lions and Colts, or if the Rams lose to the Vikings and the Cardinals beat either the Lions or the Colts, then the Cardinals’ magic number will be reduced by one more because they will have clinched the common opponent record.
So the formula works like this for clinching:
The magic number reduces by one for each Cardinals win or Rams loss.
The magic number will be reduced by one additional if:
The Cardinals beat the Seahawks
The Rams lose to the Seahawks or 49ers
The Cardinals beat both the Lions and Colts
The Rams lose to the Vikings and the Cardinals beat either the Lions or Colts
The bottom line is the Cardinals still control the division. They just made things more difficult with the loss to the Rams. They have four games to get it to zero.
A look at the NFC West and the division race with four games remaining in the regular season.
The NFC West is getting a little more interesting. The Arizona Cardinals still sit atop the division and are in the driver’s seat but everyone else below them closed the gap by a game. The Cardinals lost their Week 14 game and the rest of the division won.
Here is what the division standings look like entering Week 15:
Arizona Cardinals, 10-3
Los Angeles Rams, 9-4
San Francisco 49ers, 7-6
Seattle Seahawks, 5-8
Let’s look at what happened for each team and what is coming up this week.
Only three teams remain with a shot at the NFC West division title after Week 13. The Cardinals hold a two-game lead over the Rams and the Seahawks were eliminated.
There are five games and five weeks remaining in the regular season and the NFC West is still very much up for grabs, although one team has been eliminated from contention for the division title.
The Arizona Cardinals won for the 10th time this season and remain in the division lead.
Here are the current division standings entering Week 14.
Arizona Cardinals 10-2
Los Angeles Rams 8-4
San Francisco 49ers 6-6
Seattle Seahawks 4-8
The Cardinals maintain a two-game lead over the Rams, while the Seahawks are no longer in contention for the division title. The best they can do is 9-8 if they win all their remaining games, while the Cardinals already have 10.
Let’s take a look at what happened for each team last weekend and what is coming up in Week 14.