If you've looked at the NFL standings this week, then you may have noticed that the Vikings are in trouble. With two weeks to play, they're two games out of the final playoff spot in the NFC, which means they're going to need a few things to happen if they want to make the postseason this year.
If you're wondering just how desperate things are for the Vikings right now, our stats guy over at SportsLine (Stephen Oh) says the Vikings have just a 1.3% chance of making the playoffs. Yikes. That's not ideal. On one hand, that sounds so low that if you're a pessimistic Vikings fan, you might want to just go ahead and give up on the season. On the other hand, if you're a glass half-full kind of Vikings fan, then right now is the perfect time to channel your inner Lloyd Christmas.
As the Vikings head into their Christmas game against the Saints, they have one route to the playoffs and one route alone. Here's what would have to happen for them to make it.
The Bears also have to lose one of their final two games -- they play the Jaguars and Packers -- and if all that happens, the 8-8 Vikings would get in over the 8-8 Bears and 8-8 Cardinals. The Vikings would have the divisional tiebreaker over the Bears and the common games tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
On the other hand, if the Vikings lose Friday, they will be eliminated from playoff contention. Even if they win Friday, they could be eliminated as soon as Saturday if the Cardinals beat the 49ers.
The Vikings are one of six teams that could be eliminated this week with a loss. Here's what has to happen for each of the other six teams to get knocked out:
Vikings: OUT with loss OR Cardinals win
Raiders: OUT with loss OR Ravens win
Eagles: OUT with loss OR Washington win
Giants: OUT with loss plus Washington OR Philadelphia win
Cowboys: OUT with loss OR Washington win
Bears: OUT with loss plus Arizona win
A win by Washington could potentially end up eliminating every team in the NFC East. Basically, if you're an NFC East team, you should be strongly rooting against Washington on Sunday. As for Vikings fan, you need your team to win and then you're going to have to hope for a Christmas miracle.