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NFL playoff picture, Week 15: For the optimists out there!

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The San Francisco 49ers playoff chances are not completely wiped out, but they're hanging by a thread. We take a look at their last remaining chance.

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The San Francisco 49ers suffered a devastating 24-13 loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 14, which dropped them to 7-6 on the season. And yet, while they are now two or more games back of every pertinent team in the playoff race, they remain mathematically alive in the playoff chase. Odds are long, but the possibility still exists.

Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Monday, and he had yet another great line, this time describing where the 49ers stand.

"Yeah, as my father-in-law Merle Feuerborn says, ‘It's always darkest before the dawn.' So, this could be the first minutes of our finest hour. That's the way we approach it."

I am not really holding my breath for the finest hour, but I suppose anything is possible. Prior to that comment I was not even thinking playoffs, but naturally, Jim Harbaugh dragged me back in and now 1 percent of me is at least willing to consider the possibility. Thanks, Jim!

As it currently stands, the 49ers can make the playoffs if they win out and get some help. You can play around with the NFL playoff machine to figure out some of the many different permutations that can net the 49ers the fifth or sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture. It all revolves around the 49ers winning their final three games. If they do that, they would then need help from some combination involving the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and/or Philadelphia Eagles.

Here is the rundown of remaining opponents for the various playoff contenders. Matt Maiocco broke down the specifics for the tiebreakers involved. If the 49ers beat the Seahawks on Sunday, I'll go into more detail about the tiebreakers. In the meantime, here are the remaining schedules for the potential playoff parties.

49ers: @ Seahawks, vs. Chargers, vs. Cardinals
Cardinals: @ Rams, vs. Seahawks, @ 49ers
Seahawks: vs. 49ers, @ Cardinals, vs. Rams
Eagles: vs. Cowboys, @ Washington, @ Giants
Cowboys: @ Eagles, vs. Colts, @ Washington
Packers: @ Bills, @ Buccaneers, vs. Lions
Lions: vs. Vikings, @ Bears, @ Packers

NFC standings

1. Arizona Cardinals (10-3) - ahead of GB due to conference record
2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) - ahead of DAL due to head-to-head
4. Atlanta Falcons (5-8) - ahead of NO due to head-to-head

5. Seattle Seahawks (9-4) - Ahead of DET due to common games record; ahead of DAL due to conference record
6. Detroit Lions (9-4) - ahead of DAL due to conference record

7. Dallas Cowboys (9-4)
8. San Francisco 49ers (7-6)

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