NFL Playoffs: Why the Arizona Cardinals Are San Diego Chargers Fans in Week 16

Chad MiddletonContributor IDecember 19, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after a 32 yard reception against the Cleveland Browns during overtime of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Imagine you had a job where you go work your 40 hours, but you can't get paid unless your co-workers showed up and did their jobs too.

Yeah, I wouldn't like that either.  Life is so much easier when you can control your own destiny. 

Unfortunately, for the Arizona Cardinals, life is not easy. They have to travel cross country to beat the Cincinnati Bengals this Saturday and then come home and beat the Seattle Seahawks on New Years Day.

However, it doesn't stop there. They need a lot of help to get in the playoffs. The key for the Cardinals, besides winning out, is hoping that the San Diego Chargers travel to the Midwest and defeat the Detroit Lions

In fact, the Cardinals need the Lions to lose twice, but is that possible?

It is possible but tricky. 

The remaining opponents for the Detroit Lions are the San Diego Chargers and the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau field. 

The San Diego Chargers need this game more than the Detroit Lions because even if the Lions lose, they can still get in the playoffs. The major factor comes in the following week. Will the Packers actually field a team that will be competitive or choose to rest starters?

That also depends on the outcome of the Steelers vs. Niners game. If the Niners win out, and the Packers lose out, the 49ers could take the No. 1 seed. This scenario seems highly unlikely, but the 49ers winning out is definitely a good thing for the Cardinals.


The 49ers play the Seahawks next week and could eliminate Seattle with a victory. If the Bears could somehow beat the Packers, then the next week means playing for home-field advantage for the Packers, which means a full squad of Packers playing the Lions.

We can't eliminate Atlanta from the conversation quite yet either. They do have a tough game on the road next week against the New Orleans Saints, who are pretty much relegated to the second seed in the NFC. 

While a loss to the Saints does seem likely for the Falcons, a loss the following week to the Tampa Bay Bucs does not. This all but solidifies the Falcons protecting the fifth seed in the playoffs.

Of course, none of these scenarios means anything if the Cardinals don't beat the Bengals on Saturday in Cincinnati. One good thing about that game is that the Cardinals won't have to look at the scoreboard to see what the Lions are doing. Detroit doesn't play until 4:05 p.m., and the Falcons don't play until Monday night. 

The bottom line is this: The Cardinals must handle the Bengals and then pull up a seat and get out their San Diego Chargers pompoms and pray Philip Rivers keeps his hot streak going.