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Cardinals Still Have Hope For NFC West Title Against Seahawks

Need a win and a Rams' loss to 49ers for division crown

Linebacker Chandler Jones (left) and safety Budda Baker do a flyinf body bump after a big play in Dallas last week.
Linebacker Chandler Jones (left) and safety Budda Baker do a flyinf body bump after a big play in Dallas last week.

The Cardinals never want their division rivals to win, but Week 18 calls for a change of heart with the NFC West title within reach.

After 17 games, the Cardinals are fifth in the NFC and trail the Los Angeles Rams in the division. If the playoffs began today, the Cardinals would hit the road throughout their postseason journey, starting with another matchup at AT&T Stadium against Dallas.

That will no longer be the case with a victory Sunday against Seattle (6-10) and help from San Francisco – by beating Los Angeles this week. The Cardinals would clinch the NFC West title for the first time in six seasons with that result, and would be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the conference.

"I'm rooting for them (49ers) very hard," defensive lineman Corey Peters said. "(To) win the division was one of our goals before the season. We had some mishaps there and got ourselves out of the driver's seat. But that's still one of our goals. We'd love to win the NFC West. But we're focused on beating Seattle, and hopefully, the 49ers get it done."

By winning the division, the Cardinals would earn a home playoff game for the first since 2015, when they defeated Green Bay in the NFC Divisional Round. As the No.2 seed, the Cardinals could host Philadelphia or San Francisco as the No. 3 seed.

"I look back at the Colts game (on Christmas Day); that was a playoff atmosphere," guard Justin Pugh said. "It was rocking at State Farm Stadium, and we want to experience that again."

Seattle fell out of playoff contention weeks ago, marking the third time since 2010 they will miss the postseason. But Sunday provides a chance to capture an upset over a Super Bowl contender.

Seattle lost to the Cardinals in Week 11, but Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson was still regaining rhythm after returning from a serious finger injury. Now the Cardinals will face the Wilson of old.

In a victory over Detroit last week, the Seahawks scored 51 points behind Wilson, who completed 69 percent of his passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns.

A Cardinals' victory would be the first time Arizona has swept Seattle since Wilson became their starting quarterback in 2012. In doing so, the Cardinals would finish the year with a 5-1 record against division opponents.

"That would mean a lot to me," Safety Jalen Thompson said. "I feel like a lot of the teams in the NFC think we're like the low-level team. I feel like a lot of teams don't have a lot of respect for us. If we beat them (again), that would be really big for us."

ROOF TO BE OPEN SUNDAY

The roof at State Farm Stadium is expected to be open for Sunday's game, the team announced Saturday.

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