Week 16 games that matter to the Cardinals, NFC playoff race

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The Arizona Cardinals did not do their job by losing to the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night 22-16. A win would have earned them a spot in the postseason. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers won their Saturday game and improved to 12-3, guaranteeing at least another week as the No. 1 seed in the conference.

With the games that remain to be played in Week 16, Cardinals fans should pay attention to a few. Particular results will benefit the Cardinals as they struggle to get through this challenging period of the season.

Which games matter and which results are the best for the Cardinals?

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Rams at Vikings

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The truth is the Cardinals benefit from this game no matter what. If the Rams win, the Cardinals make the playoffs by virtue of the loss by the Vikings. However, if the Vikings win, the Cardinals maintain the NFC West lead by divisional record tiebreaker. Both the Cardinals and Rams would be 10-5.

Thinking bigger picture, Cardinals fans should root for the Vikings. There are other ways for the Cardinals to get help to get into the playoffs that won’t cost them the division.

Buccaneers at Panthers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have lost four games in a row, but they sure do the Cardinals a solid by beating the Bucs and dropping them to 10-5, keeping them tied with the Cardinals.

Giants at Eagles

If the Giants, who have lost three games in a row, can somehow beat the Eagles or hold them to a tie, the Cardinals make the playoffs.

Cowboys at Washington

This game does not affect the Cardinals’ playoff chances, but a Washington win to stop the Cowboys’ three-game winning streak, would keep the Cowboys tied with the Cardinals at 10-5 before they have their showdown in Dallas in Week 17.

Dolphins at Saints

The Dolphins have won six games in a row and the Saints will play with Ian Book at quarterback. They have won two in a row, but Cardinals fans are Dolphins fans because a Saints loss on Monday night will still give the Cardinals a playoff berth.

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