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    Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys Playoff Scenarios: NFC seeding up for grabs

    In this Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys Week 17 matchup, what are the potential playoff scenarios for both teams in the final two weeks?

    This Week 17 Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup has the potential to shape the seeding of the NFC playoff picture. With both teams sitting near the top of the NFC in the NFL standings, do either of the Cowboys or Cardinals have playoff-clinching scenarios this week?

    Update: The Cardinals have defeated the Cowboys, 25 – 22. Playoff scenarios are listed below. For a complete up-to-date picture, visit our NFL Playoff Scenarios.

    Cardinals vs. Cowboys playoff implications and clinching scenarios

    Entering Week 17, both the Cardinals and Cowboys are guaranteed to be in the playoffs. However, both teams still have plenty to play for in terms of seeding. While the Cowboys have already clinched the NFC East, the Cardinals are in a tense fight for the NFC West with the Los Angeles Rams.

    What are the Cardinals playoff scenarios in Week 17?

    The Cardinals do not have a specific playoff-clinching scenario of their own in Week 17. However, a victory is crucial if they want to beat out the Rams for the division. According to FiveThirtyEight’s playoff predictor, Arizona has just a 23% chance of winning the NFC West entering Week 17.

    With that said, the situation for the Cardinals is reasonably simple. They need to win out and hope that the Rams drop one of their two games against the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Additionally, they need at least one win to ensure that they finish as the fifth seed and face the lowest-placed of the NFC division winners.

    When it comes to their seeding in the top four, the Cardinals need some help to finish anywhere other than fourth among the division winners. They would need the Cowboys to lose against the Eagles in Week 18 and the Rams to lose one of their final two games. In that event, Arizona would slide into the third seed.

    The Cardinals can yet finish as the second seed in 2021. If they win out, the Buccaneers lose one of their final two, the Cowboys lose both games, and the Rams lose one game, Arizona would be the No. 2 seed. However, the Cardinals have no chance to get the No. 1 seed. The best they can do is tie with the Packers for conference record, but Green Bay won their head-to-head game earlier this season.

    What are the Cowboys playoff scenarios in Week 17?

    Things are somewhat intriguing for the Cowboys. They have already clinched the NFC East and will be one of the top four seeds regardless. Dallas still has a chance at clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but the situation is somewhat complex.

    Currently, the Packers are a game in front of them, but there is every chance the Vikings can upset Green Bay this week. If that happens and the Cowboys win out, they would jump in front of Green Bay for the No. 1 seed. However, winning out does not assure the Cowboys of the top seed because of the NFL playoff tiebreaker situations.

    Right now, the Cowboys are the second seed because they have the conference record tiebreaker over the Rams and Buccaneers. However, if they end up in a head-to-head tie with only the Buccaneers, the situation changes. Tampa Bay defeated Dallas in Week 1 and owns the head-to-head direct tiebreaker. That becomes an issue for the Cowboys if the Rams lose one more game than the Cowboys and Buccaneers, or if the Packers lose both of their remaining games.

    Looking ahead to Week 18, if there is a four-way tie for the conference, the Cowboys would be in the driving seat. Dallas enters Week 17 with a 9-1 record within the conference, which no other team can match if there were a three- or four-way tie between them, the Rams, the Cardinals, the Buccaneers, or the Packers.

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