Cardinals have little room for error in final three games for division title

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The Arizona Cardinals are 10-4 with three games to go in the regular season. For the third straight week, they are a win away from clinching their first playoff spot since 2015.

However, they have lost two straight games and no longer have any leeway in the NFC West.

They and the Los Angeles Rams are both 10-4 and the Cardinals hold a division tiebreak currently.

With three games left, their magic number to clinch the division is four.

They now must keep pace with the Rams or risk blowing the division lead they have held practically all season.

Their slate of remaining games is tough, too. It is a playoff-like atmosphere.

They host the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night. The Colts are battling for the AFC South division lead and have won five of their last six games. They are on their way to the playoffs.

Then they travel to play the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys, who are also 10-4.

They close the season at home against the 5-9 Seattle Seahawks, who would love to do nothing more than to spoil the Cardinals’ season.

The easiest way to ensure a division title is winning all three of their remaining games on the schedule.

They might need to.

If they do, the Rams can’t overtake them. The Cardinals will have gone 5-1 in the division and clinched that tiebreaker.

The Rams’ schedule isn’t easy, either. They are on the road this week against the Minnesota Vikings, who are the No. 7 seed and final wild card team currently. The Rams will face them on a short week, having played Tuesday night.

Then they go to Baltimore to play the Ravens and finish the season at home against the red-hot San Francisco 49ers, who already beat them earlier this season.

If the Cardinals beat the Colts and the Vikings beat the Rams, the Cardinals’ magic number drops to one, meaning one Cardinals win or Rams loss in the final two weeks clinches the division.

If that doesn’t happen, the race will probably come down to two divisional games in Week 18.

Either way, thanks to recent losses, the Cardinals have made things much more difficult.

With a playoff atmosphere in the final three games and must-win games to avoid losing their lead, we will find out what this team is made of.

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Cardinals remain in 1st place in NFC West as race tightens with Rams

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