Must...go...to...playoffs! (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Tre's note: Florida Danny had a very in depth post about probability of a playoff berth for the 49ers based on all of the possible Win/Loss scenarios remaining in the NFC West. I had actually already written this piece and figured, no harm as it's really just a very simple look at the only scenarios whereby the 49ers can get to the playoffs.
Thanks to a win against Seattle and losses by the rest of the NFC West, the 49ers now find themselves very much alive in the playoff race. Due to the poor records owned by the entire division, no one will be going as a wild-card team. This actually makes the playoff picture a lot less complicated.
Usually around this time of year there are all sorts of if/then's surrounding specific teams' playoff chances, such as:
If team X wins and team Y loses, coupled with wins by team Z, Q, and P and two losses by team G...then team A goes to the playoffs.
The 49ers picture is simple however. Here it is, as easy as it can be explained:
If the 49ers win out, all it takes is one loss by Seattle and we're in the playoffs.
If the 49ers win any two games, they only need for Seattle and St. Louis to lose two games as well.
The 49ers can not get in with one win because Seattle and St. Louis have a one-game lead and play each other week 17.
Important: If 49ers lose to SD and both Seattle and St. Louis win this week, we're eliminated. (if that happens, both teams can't lose two games, as I mentioned they'd need to do above if we don't win out, since they play each other week 17)
Essentially let's just root for the 49ers to win and the rest of the NFC West to lose. We could conceivably clinch the playoffs as early as week 16.
You can check out and create your own scenarios here at the ESPN 2010 NFL Playoff Machine.