The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles are both playing with the postseason on the mind when they meet on Sunday Night Football. But one team has already secured a spot playing after Week 17 while the other can only try to win and hope some other teams lose out. You can watch both of their efforts live online here.
The Cardinals clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win over the tough Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football in Week 14. A game-saving forced fumble by Dwight Freeney prevented the Minnesota comeback and the Cardinals increased their winning streak to seven games.
The last time they lost was a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6. Other than that and a loss to the rival St. Louis Rams in Week 4, the Cardinals have been excellent this season. They have taken down several playoff-caliber teams already, including the Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks.
Now they have their sights set on a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. With three games left to play, the Cardinals are just two games back of the undefeated Carolina Panthers and getting home-field advantage in addition to a first-round bye is still possible. It's not likely, given how well the Panthers have been playing, but the Cardinals haven't been guaranteed that second seed yet, either.
The Cardinals are just two games up on the Green Bay Packers, a team they will face in Week 16, and three games up on the Seahawks, a team they play for the second time in Week 17. They can't afford to stumble against the Eagles under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football.
Nor can the Eagles lose to the Cardinals. The NFC East is the worst division in football, but all four teams are still in the running and none of them realistically have a shot at grabbing wild card berth. Washington currently leads the division, though coming into the week, it was in a three-way ties with Philadelphia and New York at 6-7. The Cowboys are at the bottom of the division, but hadn't been officially eliminated heading into Week 15.
The Eagles will face both Washington and New York again this season, finishing their last two games against their rivals. They have already lost to Washington once and they have beaten New York, so they can run the table on the Giants and at least split the series against Washington. They also split their season series with the Cowboys.
The Eagles were looking like a disaster just a few short weeks ago, falling to the Miami Dolphins in Week 10 before allowing 45 points in consecutive games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions. Neither of those teams are world-beaters by any means, but the Eagles have put themselves back in the NFC East race with two big wins in a row.
In Week 13, the Eagles handled Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, which has to give them a lot of confidence going up against a good quarterback like Carson Palmer. In their last game, they downed the Buffalo Bills, 23-20, and carry some momentum into Sunday's pivotal matchup at home against the Cardinals.
How to Watch
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Commentators: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya
Online: NBC Sports