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The Playoff Road/Home Question For Cardinals

As team readies for finale at State Farm Stadium, contrast in results noticeable

The Cardinals still have a chance to end up with a home playoff game. The equation is simple, really. Beat the Seahawks at home, have the 49ers beat the Rams in Los Angeles -- the Niners aren't favored but have beaten the Rams five straight times -- and volià! The Cardinals win the NFC West and host a Wild Card playoff game.

The odds favor the Rams winning and making the Cardinals' result moot, so yes, a first-round road game -- likely against the Cowboys in Dallas -- is the probable result.

But it does bring up the most fascinating debate around this team. The Cardinals went 8-1 in road games this season. They are 3-4 at home this season going into this finale. So what exactly would be better for this particular team as a playoff venue?

State Farm Stadium is a great place for a home playoff game. I've seen it a few times. (I've been to Seattle many times and yes, it's loud. But I don't know if I've ever been in a building louder than then-University of Phoenix Stadium at the end of the NFC Championship game. The crowd absolutely made a difference that day.)

Late Wednesday afternoon, a random tweet popped up on my timeline from Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker.

"Red Sea, I gotta see you on Sunday ... that is all" Baker tweeted.

For a finale that doesn't really mean anything for the Seahawks, it'll be interesting to see a) how Seattle looks emotionally; b) how many Seahawks fans are in the building, because unfortunately there are usually many; and c) how the Cardinals play at home. Obviously, they have had more losses at home than expected, although other than the Panthers game, they've been in close matchups. They looked like they'd pull out the Packers game, and they certainly had their chance to win against the Rams and Colts.

But they haven't looked as good at home as the road, really in any of their games, wins or losses.

How that would translate to a playoff game is anyone's guess, whether it would be likely to happen or not. For the postseason, a road trip to Dallas against a home game versus the 49ers? I know for me, regardless of this season, I've seen the benefit the Cardinals get playing postseason games at home. I still think it would matter in the advantage column.

Budda Baker and teammates celebrate a defensive stop in a 2021 home game against the Colts