While it was already established that the NFC West title was out of reach for the San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals winning Thursday night put an exclamation point on the Niners being eliminated in the division race.
But of course, the 49ers, who are 7-6 and currently the No. 8 seed, are still alive in the wild-card chase. 49ers.com broke down how they could receive an invitation to the six-team NFC postseason tournament.
The Niners play at Seattle on Sunday, just over two weeks after the Seahawks beat them on Thanksiving in Santa Clara, and must go 3-0, unless the other “contending teams go 0-3 down the stretch, which appears unlikely,” the team’s official website wrote.
But if the Niners do indeed finish 10-6, the site reported, they would “need two of the following three scenarios to occur to secure a wild-card spot.”
The Detroit Lions (9-4) must finish 1-2 against the Minnesota Vikings (6-7), whom they play at home, Chicago Bears (5-8) and Green Bay Packers (10-3), both of whom the Lions visit, with one of those losses needing to come against the Bears.
The Seahawks have to go 1-2, obviously with a loss to the Niners, as they visit the Cardinals (11-3) and play host to the St. Louis Rams (6-8).
And/or whoever loses this weekend’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) and Dallas Cowboys (9-4) in Philadelphia must go 1-1. The Eagles travel to Washington (3-10) and the New York Giants (4-9) and the Cowboys play host to the Indianapolis Colts (9-4) and finishes up at Washington.
And as 49ers.com wrote, “More improbable paths also exist if the Packers lose out or the winner of the Eagles-Cowboys matchup drops its last two games.”