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To survive, Auckland will have to beat Canterbury, or hope that Bay of Plenty can hold off Waikato for 80 minutes.
Table-toppers Canterbury go into the game as $1.17 favourites and have a +194 point differential from their nine games.
But it gets even worse for Auckland.
The formerly proud province have lost 11 of their last 12 games against Canterbury, with their only win in the last ten years coming in the 2013 round robin. Given the form of both sides this season, that trend is likely to continue on Friday.
That would rest Auckland's hopes in the hands of Bay of Plenty, who are slight underdogs for their Saturday encounter with Waikato in Tauranga.
The teams last met in 2015, when Waikato cruised to a 43-10 victory.
Waikato are currently two points behind Auckland heading into the final round. Teams receive four points for a win, and bonus points for scoring four or more tries or losing by seven points or fewer, meaning a Waikato win and an Auckland loss would relegate Auckland.