NFL Christmas Special: Vikings have a scenario that takes them to the playoffs and here’s what should happen

If you looked at the NFL standings this week, you may have noticed that the Vikings are in trouble. With two weeks to play, they are two games away from the final playoff spot on the NFC, which means they will need a few things to happen if they want to make it to the postseason this year.

If you’re wondering how desperate things are for Vikings now, our SportsLine statistics guy (Stephen Oh) says Vikings have only a 1.3% chance of making it to the playoffs. Damn it. This is not ideal. On the one hand, it sounds so low that if you’re a pessimistic fan of the Vikings, you might want to go ahead and give up on the season. On the other hand, if you are a type of Vikings fan with a half full glass, now is the perfect time to channel your inner Lloyd Christmas.

As the Vikings enter their Christmas game against the Saints, they have a route to the playoffs and a route alone. Here’s what would have to happen for them to succeed.

Week 16
Vikings beat Santos
49ers won Cardinals

Week 17
Vikings beat Lions
Rams defeated Cardinals

The Bears also have to lose one of their final two games – they play against the Jaguars and Packers – and if all of that happens, the 8-8 Vikings would outperform the 8-8 Bears and 8-8 Cardinals. The Vikings would have the divisional tiebreaker over the Bears and the tiebreaker of the common games over the Cardinals.

On the other hand, if the Vikings lose on Friday, they will be eliminated from the playoff contest. Even if they win on Friday, they can be eliminated as early as Saturday if the Cardinals win the 49ers.

The Vikings are one of six teams that could be eliminated this week with a defeat. Here’s what must happen for each of the other six teams to be eliminated:

Vikings: OFF with defeat OR victory of the Cardinals
Raiders: WITH Ravens’ defeat OR victory
Eagles: OFF with Washington’s defeat OR victory
Giants: OUT with defeat and victory in Washington OR Philadelphia
Cowboys: OFF with Washington’s defeat OR victory
Bears: OUT with defeat and victory in Arizona

A Washington victory could end up eliminating all NFC East teams. Basically, if you are an NFC East team, you should cheer heavily against Washington on Sunday. As for the Vikings fan, you need your team to win and then you have to wait for a Christmas miracle.