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The day ahead: Farewell to the desert

12/6/2010

TEMPE, Ariz. -- This trip to Arizona could be the last one for a while now that the Arizona Cardinals are all but eliminated from contention in the NFC West.

I'm headed home Monday and then heading to San Francisco for the 49ers' elimination game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14.

The 49ers must beat the Seahawks to keep alive their NFC West title chances. If they do beat Seattle, they could afford a road loss to San Diego as long as other variables fell their way.

I'm expecting to see a hard-fought game Sunday at Candlestick Park.

This scenario would deliver the NFC West title to San Francisco even if the 49ers lost to the Chargers and no matter what happened between St. Louis and Seattle in Week 17. The Rams would have to lose their remaining games, however, and that seems unlikely.

The 49ers could also win the division at 8-8 even if the Rams also finished 8-8, as this scenario demonstrates.

Another scenario allows for Seattle winning a three-way tie atop the NFC West at 7-9 even while getting swept by the Rams.

These scenarios are a bit much to keep straight in one's mind, however. Let me know if you've seen a chart or charts showing all the possible NFC West permutations. I was having trouble structuring one to cover outcomes for multiple weeks.