We are in uncharted territory, folks.
The first Week 18 in NFL history is upon us.
And for Arizona Cardinals fans, the journey to the regular-season finale has been quite the roller-coaster ride.
Arizona has already earned a spot in the NFL playoffs. What remains to be seen, however, is if they will be able to win the NFC West and earn a home playoff game.
Arizona Cardinals need to take care of business at home vs. Seahawks
Two things need to happen in order for the Arizona Cardinals to become NFC West champions for the first time since 2015. First, they need to beat the division rival Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium.
If looking at Cardinals betting odds provided by Arizona online sportsbooks, that would at least on paper appear as if it’s a given. Of course, nothing ever is. Remember Week 15 against the Detroit Lions?
Still, the Cardinals head into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks as favorites with the spread at . The over/under for total points in the game is at .
Sizing up NFL Week 18: Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks
Many key Cardinals players are nursing injuries, but the expectation is that Arizona will not be “resting” or “load managing” anyone. Even though a first-round bye is off the table, the Cards still want to make sure they put themselves in a position to get a favorable playoff matchup.
However, maybe that isn’t a good thing. Arizona is only 3-4 at home this season, compared to 8-1 on the road. Three of those four home losses came at the hands of other playoff-bound teams. The Seahawks are not heading to the postseason. However, they won’t go down easily, and the Cards should be ready for a fight.
As for the Seahawks, the belief is they will be playing to win as well. This year has not gone how head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson are accustomed to. The duo made the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons. But this year, the Seahawks could never recover from a slow start and an injury to Wilson that forced him to miss multiple games.
The Seahawks have gone from first to worst, from winning the division in 2020 to finishing last in the NFC West in 2021 and potentially being the only division team to miss the playoffs this year. But after a dominant victory over the Detroit Lions in Week 17, Seattle will look to play spoiler for their hated rival and keep them from claiming the division crown.
Seattle Seahawks (6-10) at Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Date: Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022
Time: 2:25 p.m. MST
Location: State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
TV Coverage: FOX
Cardinals need help to win NFC West title
For Arizona to win the NFC West, they need the Los Angeles Rams to lose to the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams have a playoff spot locked up, but the 49ers do not.
San Francisco clinches a playoff berth with a win or if the New Orleans Saints lose to the Atlanta Falcons. There won’t be any scoreboard watching either because all of the games mentioned will kick off at the same time during the late window of Sunday’s NFL action (2:25 pm MST).
As Cardinals fans look forward to playoff football, it’s important to remember the preseason expectations for this team.
Going into the year, sportsbooks gave the Cards the worst odds to win the NFC West. So if you would have told a Cardinals fan before the season that Arizona would have a chance to win the division in Week 18 with a bit of help, I think most would consider that a success.
If you still believe, now is the time to bet on the Cardinals
Arizona is coming off a big upset road win over the Dallas Cowboys. The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for the Cards. However, oddsmakers have seemingly lost faith in the Red Birds. Meaning now might be a great time for fans to put the hammer down on their favorite team.
Right now, you can find the Cardinals’ Super Bowl betting odds at . The team’s odds to even make it to the Big Game are at .
The question now is, are the Cardinals the team we saw struggle in the second half of the season, or are they the team we saw dominate the first half of the season? As with most things, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle.
It’s hard to gauge where the team is with so many key players hurt. Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins remains shut down for the regular season. However, there are hopes that he can return for the playoffs. But even if he does, there are questions about how effective he will be.
The Cardinals could find themselves in the wild card round playing the Rams for a third time this season. They could also be in line for a rematch with the Cowboys in Dallas. No matter how the bracket turns out, Arizona will have a legitimate shot to beat any team they face in the playoffs.
Therefore, placing a bet on the Cardinals to make a Super Bowl run doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea. It might even pay off.