(CBSLA)- Thanks to their 28-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night, Sean McVay's Rams are still alive in the hunt for the playoffs. They are currently one game back of the Minnesota Vikings for the final Wild Card spot, and two games back of the Seahawks.
The New York Times and FiveThirtyEight playoff prediction models currently give the team between a 34 and 36% chance of making the postseason. They have games left against the Cowboys (road), 49ers (road) and Cardinals (home). That leaves the question on everyone's mind: what do the Rams have to do to be playing January football?
There is good and bad news on that front. The good news is, if they win their next three games, they are almost assured a spot, with the playoff predictors giving them a 93% chance in that scenario. But they wouldn't clinch simply by winning those three games. They need help from others. If the Bears beat the Packers or the Chargers beat the Vikings, the Rams chances improve to greater than 99%. If both the Packers and Vikings were to lose this week with the Rams winning out, the Rams would be in.
However, what happens if the Rams lose one of their next two games against the Cowboys or 49ers? More help is needed. They would need the Vikings to lose two of their three games, including this week against the Chargers. Or they would need the Packers to lose each of their final three games against the Bears, Vikings and Lions.
What happens of the Rams lose to both the Cowboys and 49ers? They would need the Vikings to lose out to the Chargers, Packers and Bears. In addition, the Bears would have to lose to both the Packers and Chiefs.
Now, the good news for the Rams is that FiveThirtyEight's game prediction model gives the Rams a 58% win probability this week against the Cowboys and an 88% win probability against the Cardinals in Week 17. The problem is the game against the 49ers in Santa Clara in Week 16. The model sees the Rams as five-point underdogs and gives them just a 33% win probability. If the games play out to those expectations, then the Rams would need the Vikings to lose two of three. Minnesota is a probable winner in each of their matchups against the Chargers (57%), Packers (63%) and Bears (68%).
Crazier things have happened. And Sean McVay's team appears to be playing its best football right now. The first step is winning this Sunday in Dallas. Kickoff for the game is set for 1:25 p.m. Pacific Time.
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