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2013 NFL Playoff scenarios: Cardinals could play the spoiler role

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The Cardinals' playoff hopes disappeared long ago, but there is an outside chance that they could effect the NFC playoff picture in their final two games against the Bears and 49ers.

USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals are well out of the NFC playoff picture, but they could have a chance to affect the fates of the NFC West's top two teams in the final two games of the season.

After a 4-0 start to the season, the Cardinals seemed like they might have reason to believe the playoffs were a possibility, but a nine-game losing streak put those postseason hopes well out of reach.

A Cardinals win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday could help the Seattle Seahawks clinch a playoff berth, provided the Seahawks can upset the 49ers on Sunday.

The 49ers can clinch the NFC West title with a win over the Seahawks on Sunday, and can clinch a first-round bye with a win and a loss or tie by the Green Bay Packers. Should the Seahawks pull off an upset and beat the 49ers on Sunday, the Cardinals could keep San Francisco from an NFC West title and a first-round bye with an upset of their own in Week 17.

It would appear that the Cardinals best bet is to focus on building on a win over the Detroit Lions last week and finishing a disappointing season on a high note.