Arizona has winning season but could miss playoffs

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm •  Published: December 16, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — With two weeks to go, the Arizona Cardinals have clinched their first winning season since 2009.

A spot in the playoffs, though, will require a whole lot of help.

After surviving a 37-34 overtime victory Sunday at Tennessee, the Cardinals close the season in the teeth of the NFC West powers. They go to Seattle next Sunday then finish at home against San Francisco.

Even victories in both wouldn't guarantee a playoff spot.

Arizona is 9-5 — one game behind the 49ers and NFC South co-leaders Carolina and New Orleans.

A winning record in his first season as coach "won't mean anything if we don't make the playoffs," Bruce Arians said.

To get one of the NFC wild card spots, the best hope for the Cardinals is to finish in a tie with Carolina, because Arizona has the tiebreaker by virtue of a victory over the Panthers back in Week 5.

Any three-team tie involving the teams currently ahead of them looks like bad news for the Cardinals, since the tiebreaker probably would be conference record. Arizona is 5-5 in the conference, San Francisco and Carolina, 7-3. New Orleans, 8-2 in the conference, holds the tiebreaker in a two-way tie with the Cardinals because the Saints beat them.

Arizona could finish 11-5 and still not make the postseason.

"It would be really weird," Arians said. "It would be the first time for me. I'm used to winning the division with 11-5. It's a great division and the NFC is playing extremely well this year. We'll just wait and see."

Larry Fitzgerald, who has played in 104 consecutive games dating to 2007, did not play in the overtime Sunday after sustaining a concussion trying to field the ball on the Titans' late successful onside kick attempt.

"He passed whatever test he needed to pass to come out of the stadium," Arians said, "but that's still a long ways to go from being cleared."

Winning at Seattle would be hard enough even with their star receiver.

The Seahawks, with deafening crowd support and consistently wet, cold weather, have won 14 straight at home. The last time Arizona ventured to the Northwest, when the Cardinals were in disarray last season, Seattle won 58-0.

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