Cardinals facing a four-game fight for the playoffs

Gone is the idea that the Arizona Cardinals control their own postseason fate.

And, for now, gone are the playoffs.

Both vanished Sunday afternoon, when the Cardinals lost to the Los Angeles Rams, 38-28, at State Farm Stadium. Elsewhere, the Minnesota Vikings won their fifth game in six tries to tie the Cardinals with a 6-6 record, but because of the common-games tiebreaker, the Vikings now sit in the seventh playoff spot in the NFC.

If the Cardinals want to make the playoffs -- an idea that seems somewhat farfetched after Arizona has lost four of its past five -- they will need to turn things around quickly. The Cardinals still have the Giants, who beat the Seahawks on Sunday, the Eagles, the 49ers and the Rams left.

If the San Francisco 49ers beat the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, three NFC teams would sit at 6-6, all competing for the final seed in the playoffs.

On Sunday, the Cardinals had a pitiful first half, amassing 82 total yards -- 59 of which came on a touchdown pass from Kyler Murray to tight end Dan Arnold -- and had the ball for just 7:18, the shortest amount in a first half under coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Whenever the Cardinals cut into the Rams lead in the second half, they allowed the Rams to score, stretching a three-point deficit back to 10.

Next up for Arizona is a Giants team that’s won four in a row.

Describe the game in two words: Rams dominance. The Rams have now won seven in a row over the Cardinals, all coming since Sean McVay’s was hired as the Rams’ head coach in 2017.

Troubling trend: Zane Gonzalez missed a 48-yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds left in the first half that would’ve cut into the Rams’ lead to 14-10. It was his second straight missed field goal attempt. The last one was last Sunday in New England, on what could’ve been the go-ahead and, potentially, the game-winning field goal. Gonzalez has missed two potential game-winning field goals attempts this season.

Bold prediction for next week: The Cardinals release Gonzalez and make Mike Nugent their kicker for the time being.

QB Breakdown: Kyler Murray may have finished with three passing touchdowns, but it wasn't a great day overall. He was sacked twice, fumbled and threw a Pick-6. He completed three passes in the first half but just one until the final drive of the second quarter.