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When the enemy of your enemy is your friend

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Technically speaking, the ancient proverb I’ve used in the headline is not appropriately applied in my own article, but screw it I think it still works here.

We are celebrating the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC West title, but another team that benefited from last Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Rams? The Arizona Cardinals.

When Arizona lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, it dropped them out of a wild card spot. The Chicago Bears stomped the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 10 AM window, so things were looking exceedingly bleak for the Cards.

A few hours later, the Seahawks beat the Rams and now the Cardinals now have a “win-and-in” situation where either the Rams miss the playoffs on a three-way tiebreaker or the Bears miss by losing to Green Bay. Had Seattle lost, Arizona would’ve needed to beat the Rams on the final day and hope for a Chicago loss.

Speaking of the 49ers, lest we forget that their sweep of the Rams paved the way for the Seahawks to still clinch the NFC West on the divisional record tiebreaker. When the Jets beat the Rams that went out the door but those were nevertheless two damaging defeats that worked in Seattle’s favor.

To use a non-Seahawks example, the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied from a 24-7 deficit to beat the Indianapolis Colts 28-24 and win the AFC North. Great result for Pittsburgh, hammer blow for Indy, and cheers were heard in... Cleveland?

Why yes! The Browns suffered their own upset defeat to the New York Jets and thus the AFC North was going to Pittsburgh anyway, but they are still in a “win-and-in” situation against a Steelers team that is resting starters in Week 17. Had the Colts held on for victory, a combination of that result plus the Baltimore Ravens taking care of the New York Giants would’ve dropped Cleveland out of a wild card spot entirely.

Considering the Tennessee Titans got annihilated by the Green Bay Packers, the Colts wasted a glorious opportunity. Instead of being in first place in the AFC South they now need any of the wild card teams or the Titans to lose in order to have a shot at a postseason berth.

And even this weekend’s NFC East race will see the winner of the Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants showdown turn into massive Philadelphia Eagles fans on Sunday night. As long as they topple the Washington Football Team, either the Cowboys or Giants will be division champs.

It’s easy to just hope your favorite NFL team takes matters into its own hands all the time and doesn’t need any help from others, but that’s just not something to expect on an annual basis even from perennial contenders. So on that note, go Bears and go Panthers! I think we could be in for one hell of a finish to the regular season.