NFC West: playoff picture

How three-game records translate later

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
10:50
AM ET
The 4-0 record NFC West teams posted in Week 2 renewed questions from some over the likelihood of the division producing more than one playoff team.

The chart makes no promises. It does provide a general feel for the likelihood of teams reaching postseason under the current format based on their records through three games.

The Arizona Cardinals (3-0) have to like their chances heading into games against Miami (home), St. Louis (road) and Buffalo (home). But as the San Francisco 49ers' defeat at Minnesota demonstrated Sunday, there are no guarantees. Arizona plays six of nine on the road beginning in October, which means ... little if the team plays the way it did at New England.

How 49ers can clinch West by Week 13

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
3:45
PM ET
Frederick P. Soft approves this message.

A big thanks to Dennis Renno of ESPN Stats & Information for helping answer multiple questions about how the 8-1 San Francisco 49ers could clinch the NFC West title over the next few weeks. I'm sure 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is anxious to brief his team on all the scenarios, so let's get this started.

The following week-by-week scenarios assume no tie scores:

Week 11

NFC West games: Arizona at San Francisco, Seattle at St. Louis

How the 49ers could clinch: No longer possible after the 49ers' division rivals won last week.

Week 12

NFC West games: San Francisco at Baltimore, Seattle vs. Washington, Arizona at St. Louis

How the 49ers could clinch: The 49ers would have to beat Arizona (Week 11) and Baltimore (Week 12). The Seahawks would have to lose to St. Louis (Week 11) or Washington (Week 12). The 49ers cannot win the NFC West in Week 12 without beating both the Cardinals and Ravens because at least one other NFC West team will be 4-7 or better following Week 12.

Week 13

NFC West games: Arizona vs. Dallas, Seattle vs. Philadelphia, San Francisco vs. St. Louis

How the 49ers could clinch: There are seven scenarios to consider.
  • Scenario No. 1: The 49ers defeat the Cardinals (Week 11), Ravens (Week 12) and Rams (Week 13) to reach 11-1. No other team in the division could exceed 10 victories.
  • Scenario No. 2: The 49ers defeat the Cardinals (Week 11) and Rams (Week 13). They are 10-2 and clinch if the Seahawks lose at least once from Weeks 11-13.
  • Scenario No. 3: The 49ers defeat the Cardinals (Week 11) and Ravens (Week 12). They are 10-2 and clinch if the Seahawks lose at least once from Weeks 11-13.
  • Scenario No. 4: The 49ers defeat the Ravens (Week 12) and Rams (Week 13). They are 10-2 and clinch if the Seahawks lose at least once from Weeks 11-13 and the Cardinals lose at least once from Weeks 12-13.
  • Scenario No. 5: The 49ers defeat the Cardinals (Week 11). They are 9-3 and clinch if the Seahawks lose at least twice from Weeks 11-13 and the Cardinals lose at least once in Weeks 12-13 and the Rams lose at least once in Weeks 11-12.
  • Scenario No. 6: The 49ers defeat the Ravens (Week 12). They are 9-3 and clinch if the Seahawks defeat the Rams in Week 11 and then lose in Weeks 12-13, and the Cardinals lose in Weeks 12-13. This scenario would include a Rams victory over Arizona in Week 12.
  • Scenario No. 7: The 49ers defeat the Rams (Week 13). The 49ers are 9-3 and clinch if the Seahawks lose at least twice from Weeks 11-13 and the Cardinals lose in Weeks 12-13.

Got it?

49ers need help from Chiefs or Falcons

December, 19, 2010
12/19/10
12:03
PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- The San Francisco 49ers face playoff elimination Sunday if the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams win Sunday.

An NFC West double appears unlikely. The Seahawks face a tough matchup against Atlanta. The Rams could have a tough one against Kansas City.

But if the Seahawks and Rams prevail, one of them will finish the season with fewer than nine defeats. The 49ers already have nine.

Seattle and St. Louis would be 7-7 if they won Sunday. They play one another in Week 17, meaning one of them would finish 8-8 or 7-8-1.

NFL playoff picture

December, 28, 2009
12/28/09
9:59
AM ET
Here is a look at the AFC and NFC playoff picture if the postseason started today, as well as a list of playoff scenarios.


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