It turns out the Arizona Cardinals apparently aren’t ready for primetime.
They brought a 10-2 record into their second prime time game of the season Monday night and lost to the Los Angeles Rams as Kyler Murray threw two picks. They lost their other primetime game to Green Bay, so they are 0-2 in primetime and 10-1 in the rest of their games.
The loss cost the Cardinals a chance to take a three-game lead in their division. Instead they are now only one game ahead of the Rams with four left.
Five of the eight division leaders–Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Dallas, Tennessee and Kansas City — posted victories while Arizona and Baltimore lost and New England had a bye.
Now all teams have played 13 games and it is a four week sprint to the end of the season now that there are no byes the rest of the way.
In the AFC three teams – New England, Kansas City and Tennessee — are all 9-4 in the battle for the top seed and a bye in the playoffs. Since the three teams don’t play each other in the final four weeks, the schedules will be important.
Tennessee figures to beat Pittsburgh, Miami and Houston but has a tough one against San Francisco. New England plays Indianapolis this week and is a slight underdog on the road and then has a rematch with Buffalo before finishing with Miami and Houston. Kansas City has three of its last four on the road including a trip to the Chargers Thursday night. Its other three games are against Pittsburgh Cincinnati and Detroit.
In the NFC, Arizona is now tied with Tampa Bay and Green Bay for the top seed at 10-3. The Cards have their second primetime game in two weeks, a Saturday night game in Indianapolis. They also play the Lions, Cowboys and Seattle.
Green Bay takes on Baltimore and Cleveland the next two weeks and finishes with division games against Minnesota and Detroit.
Tampa Bay may have the easiest road with two games against Carolina plus games with Saints and Jets.
The Buffalo Bills lost to the Bucs, falling to 7-6, two games behind the Patriots. And Baltimore’s loss to the Browns dropped them to 8-5, just a game ahead of the Browns and Bengals. The Bengals could have tied for first if not for the overtime loss to the 49ers.
Dallas virtually wrapped up the division title with the victory over Washington. It has a three-game lead over Washington and Philadelphia, but it is behind three other division leaders in the race for the bye so the Cowboys have an uphill climb in the battle for the bye.
Green Bay has a four game lead over the Vikings after the victory over the Bears so it is only playing for a bye the rest of the way.The Chiefs at 9-4 only have a one-game lead over the Chargers. The two teams play Thursday night in a pivotal game for both teams.
The Bucs have a four game lead over the Falcons and Saints after beating the Bills in overtime and like the Packers are only playing for a bye.
Twenty six teams are no worse than home game out of playoff picture with four games left.