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Updated Dec 3, 2013 - 1:40 pm

Figuring out Cardinals playoff scenarios

St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, left, sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer for an 8-yard loss and causing Palmer to fumble during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. The Rams recovered the fumble and went on to win the game 27-24. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

I just spent the last hour trying to figure it out. I jotted down all kinds of scenarios: What if this? What if that?

I heard Daryl "Moose" Johnston say it this morning on Doug & Wolf. Will a 10-win season leave the Cardinals home for the playoffs? Is winning out (finishing at 11-5) the only option?

There are too many scenarios to cover; too many games left to know for sure "if this" or "if that." But in the last hour, one thing is crystal clear to me: The season-opening loss to the St. Louis Rams could haunt the 2013 Arizona Cardinals.

An 11-point fourth quarter lead blown in a game against a division rival. An offense that sputtered in the fourth quarter to the tune of only 67 yards and four first downs. It was Bruce Arians' first game as the Cardinals coach, so there seemed to be plenty of teaching moments and positives on which they could build.

In retrospect, that loss is killing the Cardinals' dreams. They're 0-3 in the division this year, while San Francisco is 3-1. That's the first tie-breaker between the Cards and Niners, and it's the main impediment to the postseason for Arizona -- at least when it comes to getting in over San Francisco, which has a one-game edge in the standings. A victory at the beginning of the season would have at least given the Cardinals (7-5) more avenues for success at the end.

Arizona has lost eight straight division games; the last win in the NFC West came in Russell Wilson's NFL debut in the season opener of 2012. Had Arizona been able to beat the Rams on opening day, the setback suffered in Philadelphia on Sunday might have been as minor as the Cardinals are making it out to be.

About the Author

School: Got my degree from NAU. Spent a year at U of A and a summer at ASU. I root for no one/everyone.
When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: August of 1998
Favorite sports memory: co-hosting the post game show for Game 7 of the 2001 World Series until five in the morning with Brad Cesmat and Craig Grialou. Close second: on the field at the end of ASU 19 Nebraska 0.
Favorite all-time athlete: Randy Johnson. No one in any other sport was better.
Favorite sports movies: Sports: Field of Dreams, The Natural, Moneyball. Non-Sports: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Silence of the Lambs


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