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NFL playoff scenarios: Week 15 provides 49ers with chance to claim wildcard berth

We break down the latest playoff scenarios. The 49ers have a chance to claim a spot in Week 15.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL emailed out the latest playoff clinching scenarios for Week 15, and the 49ers have their first opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. They will need help from other teams, but the opportunities are officially at hand. According to the NFL, the 49ers will clinch a playoff spot with one of the following formulas:

49ers win + Cardinals loss + Cowboys loss


49ers win + Cardinals loss + Eagles loss/tie

The Cowboys/Eagles part of the equation is impacted by the fact that the Eagles and Cowboys play each other. That guarantees one of them a loss, or both of them a tie.

In the battle for a playoff spot, here is the final three weeks of the schedule for these four teams plus the Panthers. The Panthers and 49ers are even, which means the 49ers have a legitimate chance at climbing ahead of them in the wildcard race. I included the Saints because they have yet to clinch a playoff spot, and their final three games aren't exactly walks in the park. I think at the very least they beat the Bucs, but you never know how the season will end.

Week 49ers Panthers Cardinals Eagles Cowboys Saints
15 @ Bucs vs. Jets @ Titans @ Vikings vs. Packers @ Rams
16 vs. Falcons vs. Saints @ Seahawks vs. Bears @ Washington @ Panthers
17 @ Cardinals @ Falcons vs 49ers @ Cowboys vs. Eagles vs. Bucs

Other pertinent playoff scenarios include the Seahawks. Seattle can clinch the NFC West and a first round bye with a win and a 49ers loss. Seattle can clinch home field through the NFC playoffs with a win and losses by the 49ers and Saints.