Cubs playoff odds now sit at just 25% with three games to play

In early September, the Cubs were near-locks to make the playoffs. But now, it's a very different story.

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Cubs needed to do one thing this week in Atlanta: not get swept. They, of course, failed to do so and have put themselves in a precarious spot with three games to play and a playoff spot on the line.

Chicago enters this weekend's series with the NL Central champion Brewers a half-game back of the Marlins for the final wild card spot. Miami, for what it's worth, could end up having to close out a game against the Mets that was halted Thursday night due to rain if it proves meaningful. That make-up game would come on Monday, after the rest of the league's regular season schedule has wrapped up.

Cubs need to win - and get lucky - to make the playoffs now

Regardless, the Cubs are now in the position of not only needing to win themselves, but needing the Marlins and Reds to stumble in the final weekend. It's an unenviable position to be in, but is one of their own making after a brutal September collapse unlike anything in recent memory.

On Sept. 6, the Cubs had a better than 92% chance of making the postseason - a near-lock, in Fangraphs' estimation. Now, just three weeks later, those odds have come crashing down around David Ross' struggling club, sitting at just over 25%.

A bullpen in shambles, a lack of clutch hitting from key guys like Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger and an uncharacteristically shoddy defense have this ship taking on water in a hurry. Even with a sweep of a division foe this weekend, it may prove to be too little, too late for a Cubs team that, not so long ago, looked like a lock for October.