With the holiday season just beginning, it is a time to celebrate and rejoice for many reasons. Some love the presents, others love the food, but most NFL fans are looking forward to the playoffs.
We saw a handful of teams get eliminated from the playoffs last weekend, but there are still a solid amount of teams still vying for a spot. Lots of teams are starting to get hot at the right time, and it could very well result in a playoff berth.
Are the Cardinals a good enough team to make the playoffs?
The most obvious of these teams is the Philadelphia Eagles. They've been on quite a roll since making Nick Foles their starter and are in a heated race with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East crown. Given the amount of good teams in the NFC this year, winning its division may be the only way Philly can get into the playoffs, but the Eagles do control their own destiny, and at this point it's looking good.
While the Eagles are the most obvious choice here, it's actually the team they just beat that has a great chance to make it to the playoffs still. The Arizona Cardinals have had a promising year behind first-year head coach Bruce Arians, and although they're coming off of a loss, they remain in a prime position to bounce back and solidify their spot in the playoff race.
Their next two games come against pretty lackluster teams in the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans, giving them a great chance to move to 9-5. The final two games on their schedule are against the division-rival San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, but they should be able to keep it competitive against both teams and possibly pull out a surprise win or two.
I have underrated the Cardinals all year. Carson Palmer is giving them effective passing game to go along with their D. Big road game next.— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) November 25, 2013
Although it's unlikely they'll beat the rolling Seahawks, the 49ers have been hot and cold at times, and the Cardinals may be able to exploit that.
Arizona's defense has been pretty sound all year, and its offense has finally been catching up. Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald have combined for six receiving touchdowns in Arizona's last three games, and Carson Palmer has also done well in that span. Palmer has been one of the league's better performers in the past few weeks, totaling 1,276 yards and nine touchdowns in his last four games.
The Cardinals can certainly be considered a "sleeper" team, but they are in an advantageous position to make a playoff push and steal away a wild-card spot.
All stats courtesy of ESPN.com