One major advantage of jumping to the second or third seed would be prolonging a potential date with the New Orleans Saints. While the Cardinals possess the offensive firepower to rival QB Drew Brees and the Saints, traveling to New Orleans in a playoff atmosphere would be an extremely difficult task. Moving up to the third seed would also support this theory as Arizona would most likely travel to Minnesota or Philadelphia in the divisional round. The Cardinals would have plenty of confidence in either matchup as they dominated the Vikings earlier this season and knocked of the Eagles in the NFC Championship game a year ago.
When predicting what will happen this weekend, the following outcome arguably makes the most sense. Assuming the home team prevails in all three games – Arizona, Dallas and Minnesota – the Vikings would secure the second seed with the Cardinals third and Cowboys fourth. Philadelphia would finish as the No. 5 seed with Green Bay in the No. 6 slot. New Orleans and Minnesota will receive first-round byes while the Packers would head back to the desert for a second week in a row while the Eagles would travel back to Dallas again.
The bottom line is that speculation does little at this point due to the variable outcomes in Week 17. However, if things pan out as outlined above there could be some familiar matchups taking place in the postseason. Arizona will have its hands full with whomever it lines up against come playoff time but the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage would be welcomed with open arms as the Cardinals attempt to defend their NFC Championship.
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