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Cardinals 30 - Vikings 17: Final nail in the coffin?

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Last Sunday ended with most people excited about a 49ers win, a Panthers loss and a Cardinals loss.  This was the bizarro version of that day with Panther Watch taking a hit, and the 49ers playoff chances just about blown to smithereens.  The Panthers win doesn't shock many of us given how bad the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are.  I can definitely live with that.  The Cardinals win also was not exactly stunning.  I figured the Vikings might pull it out, but Arizona is a good enough team (even if the final score surprised me a bit).

In the end though, the 49ers brutal loss, coupled with the Cardinals win, has all but sunk the 49ers playoff hopes.  The 49ers now sit three games back with four games to go.  Even though one of those games is against Arizona, it would take a pretty rare collapse by the Cardinals to blow the division at this point.  The 49ers would need to win out and the Cardinals would have to lose 3 of their last 4 games (including the 49ers game) for the 49ers to win the division at 9-7.

Personally I don't think that will happen.  At the same time, I'm not going to remove all hope from my heart.  There is always a slight chance of a miracle.  Maybe it's only slight, but I suppose it's better than nothing.  So for now, I'm resigned to the 49ers fate, while still holding the faintest flicker of hope.  As I said in one of the other threads, I'm simply not ready for the offseason yet.