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The San Diego Chargers' path to the 2013 NFL Playoffs

The 5-7 San Diego Chargers may seem like they have no chance at making the playoffs this season, but that's not entirely true.

Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

After the San Diego Chargers' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, it may have appeared that I gave up hope on Mike McCoy leading his team to the playoffs in his rookie season. Well, I did give up hope. I still have no hope that they'll make it to the playoffs, but math isn't exactly on my side.

The 5-7 Chargers can still finish about .500. They can still finish 9-7. It's not very likely, but since when have the 2013 Chargers been predictable?

According to this site, the Chargers' odds of making the playoffs currently sit at 4.31%.

According to ESPN's Playoff Machine, the Chargers can waltz into the playoffs with a 9-7 record and a little bit of luck. Here's how I got them there:

  • The Chargers have to win out, which includes winning next Thursday night in Denver against the Broncos.
  • Because they lost to the Dolphins, the Chargers need to finish with a better record than the Dolphins. To do this, I have Miami losing to the Steelers this week and the Patriots next week.
  • The Ravens currently sit at 6-6, standing in the Chargers' way, but face the Lions, Patriots and Bengals in the last three weeks of the season. I have them finished 7-9, but 8-8 works just fine.
  • The Titans and the Steelers are both 5-7, with at least the Titans holding a tiebreaker over the Chargers. Let's assume that neither of them win out (the Titans face the Broncos this week and the Steelers will likely face Aaron Rodgers in Week 16).

Voila! Just like that, the San Diego Chargers are in the playoffs and Mike McCoy is a genius.

Obviously, the hard part will be winning the next four games. However, it would appear that a 9-7 Chargers team would have at least a decent chance of making it in. They're not in control of their own destiny yet, but they're not far off either.

This is why we won't start rooting for the team to tank just yet.