The Los Angeles Rams are 4-1, coming off of a dominant win in Washington and are playing very efficient on offense and stout on defense. It could be argued this is the best that the Rams have played since the later stages of the 2018 season that led to a Super Bowl appearance.
Yet, somehow, the Rams are in second place in the NFC West.
The combination of Russell Wilson playing MVP caliber football, a good enough Seattle Seahawks defense, and one of the best offenses in the league has this NFC West race looking like one that could come down to the wire.
With the way that Jared Goff and the Rams are playing, this is a team that should be feeling good about their chances of getting their third NFC West title in four years.
So how can they get there?
Let’s take a look at the remaining 11 games for the Rams and Seahawks, taking an overly pessimistic look at the remaining Eagle’s games, and an overly optimistic look at the Cowboys’ remaining schedule:
At San Francisco 49ers: WIN (5-1)
Home vs. Chicago Bears: WIN (6-1)
At Miami Dolphins: LOSS (6-2)
Home vs. Seattle Seahawks: WIN (7-2)
At Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LOSS (7-3)
Home vs. San Francisco 49ers: LOSS (7-4)
At Arizona Cardinals: WIN (8-4)
Home vs. New England Patriots: LOSS (8-5)
Home vs. New York Jets: WIN (9-5)
At Seattle Seahawks: LOSS (9-6)
Home vs. Arizona Cardinals: WIN (10-6)
At Arizona Cardinals: WIN (6-0)
Home vs. San Francisco 49ers: WIN (7-0)
At Buffalo Bills: LOSS (7-1)
At Los Angeles Rams: LOSS (7-2)
Home vs. Arizona Cardinals: WIN (8-2)
At Philadelphia Eagles: WIN (9-2)
Home vs. New York Giants: WIN (10-2)
Home vs. New York Jets: WIN (11-2)
At Washington Football Team: WIN (12-2)
Home vs. Los Angeles Rams: WIN (13-2)
At San Francisco 49ers: WIN (14-2)
If anything this scenario shows just how difficult it’s going to be for the Rams to come out ahead and win the NFC West. The Rams have some tough opponents on the schedule.
The Miami game could go either way. That is a team that should not be overlooked. Ryan Fitzpatrick has that offense playing well and Brian Flores helped put together a perfect defensive gameplan against Sean McVay in the Super Bowl two years ago.
Tampa Bay won’t be easy and that will be another long trip to the east coast. Tampa Bay has one of the better defenses in the NFL this season as they are ranked No. 1 in DVOA.
New England is another tough game with a tough defense. Cam Newton before being infected with COVID was playing some of the best football of his career.
Lastly, Seattle on the road is always difficult. Most likely the Rams won’t sweep their division rival which means a split with a loss on the road is more likely.
That’s four very tough games down the stretch. Let’s take a more optimistic approach and say the Rams split those four games and do end up getting the season sweep over the 49ers. That still puts the Rams at just 13-3 and a game behind Seattle’s 14-2.
The Seahawks are a good football team and they have a very favorable schedule. Of their remaining 11 opponents, only the Bills and Rams have winning records. Meanwhile, the Jets, Giants, Washington, and Philadelphia have a combined two wins. 14-2 for this team is actually very likely.
Let’s take a little bit of a pessimistic view though. The Arizona Cardinals managed a 27-13 win over the Seahawks last season with a plethora of weapons on offense. I also gave the Seahawks the season sweep over the 49ers. San Francisco is not the team they were last season but a split is possible. Lastly, despite having a tough season, the Philadelphia Eagles tyically play teams tough. That was evident in their loss to the Steelers last week. Let’s say the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals and either the Eagles or the 49ers. That leaves them at 12-4.
It’s pretty obvious that the margins for the Rams to win the NFC West are very small. Had the Minnesota Vikings come out with a win on Sunday Night Football, it would have helped Los Angeles out immensely. That’s not the case, however, and the Seahawks are 5-0.
This is a division that will come down to the wire and realistically could come down to the Week 16 game at Century Link Stadium in Seattle. When all is said and done, I see the Rams finishing 11-5 and the Seahawks ending up 13-3. However, a win or loss here and that could change. In the end, it’s a week to week league with 11 weeks left to go.