WAS loss + WAS loss + TB loss + DET win + MN win + MN win + TB loss = Playoffs

This might make you feel a little better about Minnesota's playoff potential. Just kidding. It won't.
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If the Redskins beat Carolina tonight the Vikings' playoff chances dip from 2 percent to less than one percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. If the Redskins lose, the Vikings go into Week 16 with a 3 percent shot at the postseason.

Minnesota is fighting for the second wild card with Tampa Bay, Green Bay and Washington. There are no other possibilities.

Three ways the Vikings are dead before Week 17

  1. Vikings lose at Green Bay
  2. Buccaneers win at home against New Orleans
  3. Washington beats Carolina tonight and Chicago on Saturday

The Vikings stay alive for another week with a win over Green Bay and a Tampa Bay loss to New Orleans. If the Redskins beat Carolina tonight the Vikings will need the Redskins to lose at Chicago, too.

If the Redskins lose to Carolina, the Vikings could still cling to life even if the Redskins beat Chicago on Saturday.

How MN's playoff chances increase – the perfect path in Week 16

According to FiveThirtyEight, this is how it works.

10 percent – If the Redskins lose to Carolina and the Vikings beat Green Bay.

17 percent – If the Redskins lose to Carolina and Chicago and the Vikings beat Green Bay.

29 percent – If the Redskins lose to Carolina and Chicago, Tampa Bay loses to New Orleans and the Vikings beat Green Bay.

42 percent – If the Redskins lose to Carolina and Chicago, Tampa Bay loses to New Orleans, Detroit beats Dallas and the Vikings beat Green Bay.

The perfect path - Week 17

If everything above rings true, this is how the percentages could develop.

51 percent – If the Vikings beat Chicago

100 percent – If the Vikings beat Chicago and Tampa Bay loses to at home to Carolina.

If the Redskins win tonight this entire scenario remains the same except Minnesota would need Washington to lose in Weeks 16 and 17.

If Detroit doesn't win at Dallas in Week 16, the Vikings would need this entire scenario to play out exactly the same and have Detroit win or tie against the Packers in Week 17.

No matter what, all of this must happen

  • Vikings must win out (at Green Bay, vs. Chicago)
  • Buccaneers must lose out (at New Orleans, vs. Carolina)
  • Redskins must lose two of last three (vs. Carolina, at Chicago, vs. NYG)
  • Lions must win one of last two (at Dallas, vs. Green Bay)

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