The 49ers' unofficial magic number is three.
As in they should make the playoffs if they simply win three of their remaining five games and finish with a record of 9-8. That wouldn't guarantee the 49ers a playoff berth, but it would give them terrific odds.
Here are the 49ers' remaining games.
On the road against the Bengals.
At home against the Falcons.
On the road against the Titans.
At home against the Texans.
On the road against the Rams.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, had they simply beaten the terrible Seahawks once this season, their magic number would be 2, and all they'd need to do to make the playoffs would be win their remaining two home games.
Now things get trickier.
We expect the 49ers will win their home games against the Falcons and Texans. But now, the 49ers also will have to win one of those road games, and those all will be more difficult than the one the 49ers just lost.
The Bengals currently are the No. 6 seed in the AFC, and the 49ers might not have Deebo Samuel for that game, which means the 49ers could lose.
The Titans currently are the No. 2 in the AFC, and the 49ers will have to fly out and play them on a Thursday night, which is difficult.
So the 49ers season could come down to Week 18 against the Rams. There's a strong possibility the 49ers will be 8-8 heading into that game. Fortunately for them, they seem to own the Rams, so there's hope. But the Rams are a good team, too. And that means the 49ers will have to beat at least one good team to reach the postseason.