Los Angeles Rams: Looking at the NFC Playoff Picture Before Week 11

by Alex Perl
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After such an underwhelming performance in Week 10 from the Los Angeles Rams, the Week 11 bye could not come at a better time. The Rams had the chance on Monday night to pull even (at least in terms of record) with NFC West leaders, the Arizona Cardinals. What we experienced instead was an embarrassing loss to the lowly San Francisco 49ers — a team the Rams have not overcame since 2018.

The loss was the second loss in two weeks for the Rams, and with key injuries (Robert Woods, Sebastian Joseph-Day) and the introduction of vital new faces (Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr.), the bye week should give the Rams some time to work out some kinks and figure out a new system, because the current one is broken.

Luckily some key NFC teams lost in Week 10 as well, so the Rams are still virtually locked into the same spot as a week prior.

NFC Playoff Picture

1. Green Bay Packers: 8-2 

2. Arizona Cardinals: 8-2

3. Dallas Cowboys: 7-2

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-3

5. Los Angeles Rams: 7-3

6. Carolina Panthers: 5-5

7. New Orleans Saints: 5-4

Current Matchup: Los Angeles Rams-Week 11 Bye

With a week 11 bye, the Rams get to sit back and watch as the NFC continues to change it’s landscape week-to-week. As things currently stand in the playoff standings, the Rams would travel to face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a rematch of their Week 3 victory in Los Angeles.

Week 11 Games to Watch

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

The Packers will be heading into heated territory on Sunday, as they face off against one of their divisional rivals in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings (4-5) have been a mixed bag thus far this season. A win over the Packers would not only get the team over .500, but get them back into hopefully competing for a wildcard spot. The Los Angeles Rams play the Packers next week.

This is a huge task for the Vikings to take on in the Packers however. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has recovered in almost near perfect manner since his abysmal Week one display, and has been undefeated since that Week one loss (he was absent in the Nov. 7th loss to the Kansas City Chiefs due to COVID-19), the Vikings have a chance in this one, even if it may be slim.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

This matchup is a battle of two teams that are both middling at this point. The Saints nearly pulled off an upset of the top team in the AFC in the Tennessee Titans — but a loss is a loss, and it is tough to see a team that has now handed the reigns over to quarterback Trevor Siemian as pushing towards a playoff berth.

The Eagles have won two out of their last three, and although they have absolutely no chance of claiming their division, there is a chance with some luck and continued strong play that they might have a chance to make a playoff push. This game will have damning effects for both teams as they are looking to get their seasons back on track.

Washington Football Team @ Carolina Panthers

If records were indicators of anything, then last week made absolutely no sense. The Washington Football team pulled off the biggest upset in all of Week 10 with a win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For a team that came into the contest sporting only two wins, it was shocking to see quarterback Taylor Heinicke outplay the GOAT.

In that Washington victory, the team will now have to endure a significant loss as well — losing star defensive end Chase Young to a torn ACL, which will end his season. The Carolina Panthers also provided an upset by beating an injury riddled Arizona Cardinals team, who were without quarterback Kyler Murray for a second straight week. It will be interesting to see if quarterback Cam Newton has gotten his ‘mojo’ back and can lead the rising Panthers to another victory in Week 11.

Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs

Are the Chiefs back? After a shocking start to the season for the back-to-back AFC champions, the Chiefs have now won four out of their last five, and might be getting back to the potent team we are used to.

They welcome a heavy challenge in the Dallas Cowboys, a team that is one of the top in the NFC. A win for the Cowboys will nearly all but lock up their division, and will also show the world just how robust this team is while heading into such a hostile environment. This is a tough one to call, are the Cowboys a legit contender? And are the Chiefs back to football supremacy? We shall see the results in this crucial Sunday afternoon matchup.

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks 

For the Los Angeles Rams sake, the hope would be that the Seahawks can give the Cardinals their second loss in as many weeks. After a rusty Week 10 performance from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, his return is still huge for a reeling Seahawks team. As he gets back up to speed, the Seahawks should improve significantly with his return under center.

The Cardinals chances hinge on the ankle of quarterback Kyler Murray, if Murray misses this contest as he has the last two, the Cardinals will have a large hill to climb in this divisional matchup. Keep an eye on his status as it will be updated throughout the week.

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Monday night matchup has the dreadful New York Giants traveling to Tampa Bay, as Tom Brady hopes to exact revenge on the NFC East. Week 10 was an unfortunate week for many of the top teams in the NFC, and this was the biggest case in terms of the Buccaneers losing to the Washington Football team.

The Giants are one of the bottom teams in their division, but after the upset in Week 10, just maybe the Buccaneers are trending down. It is too early to say right now, and it is never wise to count out a Tom Brady led franchise. With a return to Tampa Bay, and a primetime Monday game at that, the expectation is that the Buccaneers will return to form in this contest. With a couple of NFC South teams breathing down the Buccaneers neck, this is a huge game for Tom Brady and co.





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