Arizona Cardinals Playoff Chances September 2023: Tracking the Cardinals Playoff Picture

By Adam Green
Fact Checked by Blake Weishaar
James Conner stiff arming Buccaneers player

Key Takeaways:

  • The Cardinals’ playoff chances are 3.2%.
  • The Cardinals hold just a 2.4% chance of winning the NFC West.
  • The Cardinals have just a 0.2% chance of winning Super Bowl LVIII in 2024, which is the lowest in the NFL.

Coming off an 11-6 finish and a playoff berth in 2021, the Cardinals fizzled in 2022. In what was the final season under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona went a dismal 4-13 last year. Only the Texans and Bears had a worse record.

Entering 2023, most see this season as a rebuild for Arizona under new coach Jonathan Gannon. Under Kingsbury, the Cardinals finished 28-37-1 in four seasons. Since moving to Arizona the franchise has seen just one head coach post a winning record over the course of their tenure, and that is Bruce Arians.

The best Arizona sportsbooks don't anticipate the Cardinals making the playoffs this season either, and nothing that transpired over the offseason brought about any kind of confidence in them being a surprise team. I will be tracking the Cardinals playoff chances throughout the rest of the offseason with an eye to changes to the Cardinals playoff picture.

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What are the Cardinals Playoff Chances?

The Cardinals playoff chances are 3.2%. Those are the worst odds in the entire NFL, though note that you can use Arizona sports betting promos to potentially improve those odds while betting. The table below tracks the Cardinals chances to win the NFC West, the NFC conference and Super Bowl LVIII:

πŸ’ͺ Cardinals Playoff Chances+3000 (3.2%)
πŸ† Cardinals Win Super Bowl40000 (0.2%)
πŸ‘‘ Cardinals Win NFC20000 (0.5%)
πŸ”₯ Cardinals Win NFC West7500 (2.5%)
πŸ—½ New York Times Postseason Simulator for CardinalsNot Available Yet
🏈 Cardinals ESPN Football Power Index (FPI)-8.5 FPI (31st)
βœ… Data Last Verified by ExpertSeptember 20, 2023

At this point in the season, every team has a chance to make the playoffs, but DraftKings Arizona has the Cardinals' odds at +3000. This means the team's implied probability is just 3.2%. Not surprisingly those odds are the worst in the NFL, with Arizona being given a 96.8% chance of missing the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals the odds don't get any better when it comes to winning the NFC West, where they are listed at +4500, or a 2.2% chance. The New York Giants are the closest at +2500.

Needless to say the odds are even worse that the Cardinals win the NFC or even the Super Bowl, at 0.5% NFC title and 0.2%, respectively. While incredibly unlikely, should Arizona surprise and win the Super Bowl a $100 bet would pay out a winnings of $40,000. 

Although not available yet, the New York Times Postseason Simulator and ESPN Football Power Index are excellent tools for gauging a team’s playoff chances and Cardinals Super Bowl odds

Cardinals Week-by-Week Playoff Chances

  • Week 1: 8.3%
  • Week 2: 3.2%
  • Week 3: 3.2%

The Cardinals have been competitive in each of their first two games, and one could make the case that they probably should have won them both. They didn't, though, which is why their playoff odds have not improved at all.

2023 Arizona Cardinals Schedule and Betting Lines

πŸ“† Week 1 at Washington CommandersLoss, 20-16
πŸ“† Week 2 vs New York GiantsLoss, 31-28
πŸ“† Week 3 vs Dallas CowboysCardinals +7, ML +255
πŸ“† Week 4 at San Francisco 49ersCardinals +9.5, ML +330
πŸ“† Week 5 vs Cincinnati BengalsCardinals +7.5, ML +280
πŸ“† Week 6 at Los Angeles RamsCardinals +4, ML +160
πŸ“† Week 7 at Seattle SeahawksCardinals +7, ML +250
πŸ“† Week 8 vs Baltimore RavensCardinals +5.5, ML +190
πŸ“† Week 9 at Cleveland BrownsCardinals +7, ML +275
πŸ“† Week 10 vs Atlanta FalconsCardinals +2.5, ML +125
πŸ“† Week 11 at Houston TexansCardinals +1.5, ML +105
πŸ“† Week 12 vs Los Angeles RamsCardinals +2, ML +105
πŸ“† Week 13 at Pittsburgh SteelersCardinals +6.5, ML +220
πŸ“† Week 14BYE WEEK
πŸ“† Week 15 vs San Francisco 49ersCardinals +6.5, ML +225
πŸ“† Week 16 at Chicago BearsCardinals +4.5, ML +165
πŸ“† Week 17 at Philadelphia EaglesCardinals +11, ML +410
πŸ“† Week 18 vs Seattle SeahawksCardinals +4.5, ML +165
βœ… Data Last Verified by ExpertSeptember 20, 2023

The Cardinals were not expected to be any good this season, and their 0-2 record along with an underdog status each week certainly underscores the point. However, they were competitive in each of their first two games, carrying leads in to the second half in both. Their schedule is about to get quite a bit tougher, however, with games against the 2-0 Dallas Cowboys and Super Bowl favorite San Francisco 49ers on the way. The spreads in those games figure to be two of the largest Arizona will see this season.

Unless things turn around for the Cardinals the game many fans could most look forward to is Week 11 when Arizona travels to Houston to play the Texans. It figures to be the smallest spread Arizona will see this season, and no matter who wins the game Arizona can't really lose. 

By way of a Draft Day trade that sent the No. 3 overall pick to Houston the Cardinals currently hold the Texans' 2024 first-round selection. Things are looking good for the Cardinals to own two very high picks, as neither team has won a game and they are tied for the worst Super Bowl odds in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals Playoff Chances: Key Offseason Updates September 2023

As the offseason winds down, we’ll track the big moves for the Cardinals. Below is a look at the key transactions and developments in the desert:

  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 18: Cardinals place S Budda Baker on injured reserve with hamstring injury.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 17: Cardinals race out to 20-0 halftime lead but fall to New York Giants 31-28 in first home game of the season.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 11: Head Coach Jonathan Gannon announces Joshua Dobbs will remain team's starting QB in Week 2.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 10: Joshua Dobbs is indeed the Cardinals' starting QB. He guides team as they fall to Washington Commanders 20-16. Completes 21-of-30 passes for 132 yards while fumbling three times, losing two of them.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 5: Cardinals initial depth chart lists Joshua Dobbs or Clayton Tune as starting QB.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 4: Cardinals name QB Kyler Murray, OL D.J. Humphries, LB Kyzir White, S Budda Baker, RB James Connor and LB Dennis Gardneck team captains. Captains were chosen by HC Jonathan Gannon.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Sep 4: Cardinals announce their practice squad includes RB Corey Clement, QB Jeff Driskel and WR Andre Baccellia, among others.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 29: Place QB Kyler Murray on Physically Unable to Perform list to start the season. Move guarantees he will miss at least the first four games.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 28: Release veteran QB and presumed 2024 starter Colt McCoy.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 24: Acquire QB Joshua Dobbs from Cleveland Browns in exchange for fifth-round pick in 2024 NFL Draft.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 24: Trade OL Josh Jones to Houston Texans for fifth-round pick in 2024 NFL Draft.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 24: Trade S Isaiah Simmons, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, to New York Giants for seventh-round pick in 2024 NFL Draft.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 21: Cardinals name Jeremy Walls, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, as Chief Operating Officer.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 14: Tight End Zach Ertz is cleared for full football activity as he recovers from torn ACL suffered in 2022 season.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 11: Cardinals rally to defeat Denver Broncos 18-17 in preseason opener.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 9: Cardinals place running back Marlon Mack on IR due to torn Achilles.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Aug 4: Looking to bolster their running back room, Cardinals sign veteran Marlon Mack.
  • πŸ—“οΈ July 27: After demanding a trade in the offseason, safety Budda Baker agrees to a restructured contract, which leads to him reporting to training camp on time.
  • πŸ—“οΈ May 26: The Cardinals release WR DeAndre Hopkins.
  • πŸ—“οΈ May 2: The Cardinals decline LB Isaiah Simmons' fifth-year option.
  • πŸ—“οΈ April 29: The Cardinals draft UCLA guard Jon Gaines II, Houston QB Clayton Tune, Auburn ILB Owen Pappoe, Louisville CB Kei'Trel Clark,and West Virginia DT Dante Stills on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
  • πŸ—“οΈ April 28: The Cardinals draft LSU OLB BJ Ojulari, Syracuse DB Garrett Williams, and Stanford WR Michael Wilson on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
  • πŸ—“οΈ April 27: The Cardinals draft Ohio State OL Paris Johnson, Jr. with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
  • πŸ—“οΈ April 14: Safety Budda Baker requests a trade, per ESPN sources.
  • πŸ—“οΈ April 11: WR DeAndre Hopkins skips offseason workouts.
  • πŸ—“οΈ April 4: Former team exec Terry McDonough accuses Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill of gross misconduct, including cheating, discrimination and harassment, in a claim filed to commissioner Roger Goodell.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 20: The Cardinals sign WR Zach Pascal to a two-year contract.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 16: The Cardinals release three-time Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 15: The Cardinals re-sign OL Will Hernandez to a two-year contract.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 14: The Cardinals re-sign OL Kevin Beachum to a two-year deal. The Cardinals also add LB Kyzir White. Former Cardinals CB Byron Murphy signs with the Vikings.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 13: Former Cardinals DE Zach Allen leaves for the Broncos. The Cardinals release LB Markus Golden.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 10: The Cardinals re-sign WR Greg Dortch.
  • πŸ—“οΈ March 8: The Cardinals release WR Chosen Anderson. A former 1,000-yard receiver, Anderson caught seven passes for 76 yards in three games with the Cardinals last season.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Feb. 21: Drew Petzing is hired as offensive coordinator and Nick Rallis as defensive coordinator.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Feb. 14: Jonathan Gannon is hired as head coach.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Jan. 16: Monti Ossenfort is announced as GM.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Jan. 9: Kliff Kingsbury is fired as head coach after four seasons, and GM Steve Keim announces his departure from the team.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Jan. 3: QB Kyler Murray undergoes ACL surgery, per ESPN reports.
  • πŸ—“οΈ Dec. 27: Three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt announces he will retire at the end of the 2022 season.

Now that the season is underway the Cardinals are starting to figure out who is ready to contribute in what is expected to be a major rebuilding year. Dobbs, a journeyman who is taking the place of the injured Kyler Murray, played better in Week 2 than in Week 1 and has perhaps inspired some faith that the offense can move the ball and score points with him at the helm. News with the team's QB position and everything else will continue to happen and we'll continue updating this timeline with more information as the season progresses. Check back to stay up on the latest news related to the Cardinals.

Key Contributors Toward Cardinals Playoff Chances

Apparently the Cardinals can score a little without Kyler Murray. Joshua Dobbs was better in Week 2, passing for 228 yards and one touchdown while running for 41 yards and a score. It was a Murray-esque line (if you squint hard enough) and although the Cardinals ultimately lost the game, the QB's play provided some hope as the team tries to stay afloat until Murray can return from a torn ACL suffered last season.

Dobbs wasn't the only one to post a strong effort in Week 2. Running back James Connor turned 23 carries into 106 yards and a score. He was not featured in the passing game, which was strange, but that could be due to Zach Ertz being the QB's favorite short-game target. Ertz saw the ball come his way eight times, tallying six receptions for 56 yards. Receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown led the Cardinals with 10 targets, catching six of them for 54 yards and a score.

For a half in Week 2 Arizona's defense was simply dominant, in large part due to the play of linebacker Dennis Gardneck. He earned a sack against the Giants after picking up two the week before in Washington. An impact player on special teams, he's been making his presence felt as a regular on defense. Rookie defensive back Kei'trel Clark broke up a pair of passes and was in on five tackles, while safety Jalen Thompson picked off a pass. The Cardinals have a mostly no-name defense, but the players who make it up have flashed enough to give at least a little hope that they could be solid.

Where Can I Bet on the Cardinals to Make the Playoffs?

Odds to bet on the Arizona Cardinals to make the postseason are currently available at DraftKings and many other sportsbooks like BetMGM Arizona. As the season continues the odds will change.

Betting in Arizona is legal online and at retail locations for anyone over the age of 21. Located less than five hours from Las Vegas, that comes as little surprise.

Must be 21+ and present in AZ. T&Cs apply.

Looking Ahead: Cardinals Playoff Picture

As expected, the Cardinals have begun their season with a pair of losses. Not expected was how competitive they were in each game. That hasn't done much to help their playoff chances, of course, but it's a long season and QB Kyler Murray figures to return at some point. Until then journeyman Joshua Dobbs figures to be the team's starter. Acquired late in the preseason, he showed greater comfort and better playmaking ability in Week 2 in both throwing and running for a TD while leading the Cardinals to 28 points. It's possible there is yet another level to his game.

All that said, Murray didn't play particularly well last season when he was healthy. After signing a $230 million contract extension the former No. 1 overall pick was inconsistent while posting the lowest yards-per-attempt of his career. Upon suffering a torn ACL in December his completion percentage matched that of his rookie season, while his QB Rating was the lowest of his career. It is hoped that a new coaching staff and approach will unlock the QB who looked like one of the best in the NFL in the first half of the 2021 season. Expecting Murray, when he finally does get back on the field, to show no signs of rust and instead have great comfort in the offense, is probably silly. However, when he is right Murray is the kind of QB whose athleticism and ability can make up for a lot of a team's shortcomings, always giving his them a chance, and the new offense has looked like something Murray could thrive in. Having landed on the PUP list to start the season, Murray won't make his 2023 debut until Week 5 at the earliest.

There has been no indication that Murray will be back on the field in a few weeks, though, so when his debut will come is really anyone's guess. His presence should boost Arizona's chances, but he may come back too late to significantly alter their playoff odds.

When he does come back Murray may be returning to a team with a bit more talent than originally thought. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown has looked healthy and as fast as ever, while rookie Michael Wilson has shown some ability. Further, veteran tight end Zach Ertz, himself recovered from an ACL injury, is rounding into form and proving to be Dobbs' favorite target with a team-leading 12 receptions. There's also a healthy and spry James Connor, who when right is a true three-down back, and ran for 106 yards and a score in Week 2.

Even with Murray the team may not be good enough to reach the postseason, a fact that is baked into their odds. Yet, he is the kind of talent who can elevate a team so if healthy the team's skill position players would get quite a boost.

Do the Cardinals Have a Chance to Make the Playoffs?

Technically, yes the Cardinals have a chance to the make the playoffs. Every team in the NFL can make that same claim. But it's more likely for some than others, as the odds will attest. The Cardinals weren't expected to play past Week 18 before the season began and having lost their first two games, nothing has happened to really change anyone's mind. It's not impossible for a team to rebound from an 0-2 start to reach the playoffs, though the teams that do so generally have more talent and stability than Arizona.

All that said, the Cardinals are being led by a new coaching staff that has energy and is likely to learn and improve with each passing week. Jonathan Gannon and his assistants have gotten the team to play hard, if not well, which is the first step toward improvement.

Unfortunately for the Cards even if they do improve their schedule is likely to hold them back. The NFC West appears to be a gauntlet, with the Super Bowl-favorite San Francisco 49ers leading the way but with a competitive Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams also hanging around.

Are the Cardinals Out of the Playoffs?

No, the Cardinals are not out of the playoffs. Not yet, anyway. While an 0-2 start is not ideal it does not guarantee a playoff-less campaign. In fact, a team that started the season with a pair of losses has gone on to make the playoffs in seven of the last 10 seasons.

That said, the Cardinals have plenty working against them if they are to make it eight out of the last 11. Their star QB is not on the field and there is no telling when he'll return, their receiver group is largely unproven and their defense is short on big names, especially now with Budda Baker landing on injured reserve. The team has played hard and been competitive through two weeks, will that continue as the opposition gets tougher and injuries start to mount?

Where Do the Cardinals Rank in the NFC West?

So it turns out the preseason hype surrounding the San Francisco 49ers was warranted. They knocked off the LA Rams 30-23 in Week to to improve to 2-0 on the season. The loss dropped the Rams to 1-1, with their win coming against the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated the Detroit Lions in overtime. The Cardinals are the only winless team in the NFC West.

The Cardinals will of course get to play their division rivals twice each, so ground can be made up rather quickly. They'll get their first crack at an NFC West opponent in Week 4 when they visit the 49ers.

Where Do the Cardinals Rank in the NFC Playoff Standings?

The Cardinals are not the only winless team in the NFC, but they are the only team in the NFC West who has yet to earn a victory this season. They are joined in the donut club by the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers.

Where Do the Cardinals Rank in the NFC Wild-Card Race?

If the Cardinals are to make the playoffs it is unlikely to be via winning the NFC West. They would need to earn one of the NFC's three Wild Card berths which, while doable, is made a lot more difficult when you start the season 0-2. As it stands the three teams who would be the Wild Cards are all 2-0 to start the season.

Can the Cardinals Get the No. 1 Seed?

Can they? Yes. Will they? Most likely not. The Cardinals face a tough schedule and have not shown enough to think they can get through it in even a modest way. Losses in their first two games have not helped their chances, but there are still 15 games left to try and make up ground.

Who to Root for if You’re a Cardinals Fan

It's still early enough to where if the Cardinals win their games, they'll be fine. Other than the Cardinals you should root for whoever is playing the Houston Texans, as Arizona holds their 2024 first-round pick.

Cardinals Postseason Outlook and Predictions

Arizona was in the playoffs just two seasons ago, so it's not as if the postseason is a foreign concept to the organization. However, the team that lost in the Wild Card round back then doesn't at all resemble the one on the field today. Injuries and attrition robbed the team of most of its high-end talent, and it's apparent the franchise is in the midst of a rebuilding season.

That's not to say the players won't play hard and try to win, nor that the new coaching staff won't do everything it can to help their team come out on top each week. Early indications are Jonathan Gannon has his team believing in itself, as evidenced by a pair of competitive losses to start the season. Effort can go a long way, especially in a sport that often comes down to a handful of plays when determining the winner.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals effort can only take them so far. Until Kyler Murray returns the QB is journeyman Joshua Dobbs who, while showing signs of improvement, is a career backup for a reason. He is not surrounded by playmakers on offense and the defense, while feisty, has not been able to finish games.

Arizona Cardinals Playoff FAQs


Adam has covered sports in Arizona for more than 10 years as a reporter, columnist and radio/podcast host. Along with covering the Cardinals here, he currently writes for When not writing Adam can be found enjoying time with his family and attempting to get better at smoking meats while drinking a craft beer.

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