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Standings Watch: Cardinals Return to Action with Larger Cushion in NFC West

The Cardinals extended their lead in the NFC West over the Rams Sunday as L.A. fell to the Packers.
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Like many folks, the Arizona Cardinals will return to work this week after getting a much-needed break. 

Thanksgiving and the Cardinals' bye week are over, and the team will prepare for a road matchup with the Chicago Bears Sunday. 

While the Cardinals were off, the rest of the NFC contenders had games in Week 12. 

The most relevant matchup Sunday was between the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams. Green Bay won 36-28 in a game that did not even appear that close. 

That result gave the 9-2 Cardinals a two-game cushion in the NFC West over the now 7-4 Rams.

However, the Packers slid closer to Arizona at the top of the conference at 9-3. They have a bye this week. 

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Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers climbed to within a game of the Cardinals with a win over the Indianapolis Colts, and the Dallas Cowboys fell to 7-4 after a Thanksgiving loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. 

A look at the NFC playoff picture:

NFC Playoff Picture

TeamRecordWeek 13 Opponent

1. Cardinals


@ Bears

2. Packers



3. Buccaneers


@ Falcons

4. Cowboys


@ Saints

5. Rams


vs. Jaguars

6. 49ers


@ Seahawks

7. Vikings


@ Lions

The 49ers are quickly gaining on the Rams. San Francisco has won three games in a row after a massive victory Sunday over the Vikings. 

The Rams are now further in the NFC West standings from Arizona than San Francisco is to them, which did not seem possible three weeks ago. 

L.A. plays every team in the NFC West one more time this season, starting with the Cardinals on Monday Night Football in Week 14.