The 49ers became the third NFC team to clinch a playoff berth on Monday night, joining the Seahawks and Panthers. Three playoff spots remain.
One of those three will go to the winner of Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game and another will go to the winner of Sunday’s Packers-Bears game. The final playoff spot will go to either the Saints or the Cardinals.
The Saints have the much easier path to the playoffs: If they win at home against the Buccaneers on Sunday, the Saints are in the playoffs. Even if the Saints lose to the Buccaneers, they’ll go to the playoffs if the Cardinals lose to the 49ers.
The Cardinals’ playoff hopes come down to beating the 49ers and hoping the Bucs can upset the Saints. The Cardinals and Saints are both 10-5, and the Saints own the head-to-head tiebreaker from beating the Cardinals in Week Three, so the Cardinals only make the playoffs if they finish with a better record than the Saints.
Arizona has had a surprisingly strong season and may finish at 11-5, far better than almost anyone predicted. But that probably won’t be good enough to make the playoffs.