Los Angeles Rams: Looking at the NFC Playoff Picture Before Week 15

by Alex Perl
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The Los Angeles Rams head into their Week 15 matchup against a familiar foe in the Seattle Seahawks. They remain in the same playoff spot as they were a week prior. However, by beating the Arizona Cardinals, the NFC West isn’t completely out of reach.

The Seahawks are always a tough opponent, especially with a fully healthy Russell Wilson at quarterback. At home, the Rams should be favored in this contest as they inch ever so close to clinching a playoff spot with the season coming to a close.

Let’s take a look at the playoff picture as it currently stands.

1. Green Bay Packers: 10-3

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 10-3

3. Arizona Cardinals: 10-3

4. Dallas Cowboys: 9-4

5. Los Angeles Rams: 9-4

6. San Francisco 49ers: 7-6

7. Washington Football Team: 7-6

Clinching Scenario

The Rams have a chance to clinch a playoff spot this week. For this to occur, the Rams would need to defeat the Seahawks, while having Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints losses. The Saints are at Tampa Bay this week and are 3-0 against the Buccaneers with Tom Brady. However, the Saints aren’t as strong on offense and could lose.

Meanwhile the Vikings are facing a Chicago team Monday night that played very well against Green Bay recently. It might not happen this week, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibilities.

Current Matchup

Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

This matchup hasn’t changed for a couple of weeks. If the playoffs started today, the Rams would head to Dallas to play the Cowboys. This would be a very intriguing matchup as the Cowboys offense has sputtered recently while the defense is playing fast led by rookie Micah Parsons.

The Los Angeles Rams would like to get a playoff game at home, but if they have to head on the road, it looks like Dallas might be the likely scenario.

Week 15 Games to Watch

Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are coming off back-to-back victories, including the above mentioned and vital win over the Arizona Cardinals. With a chance at securing a playoff spot this week, this game is essential.

Although the 5-8 Seahawks are on the outside looking in on a playoff spot,  they may be in line for a surge as they have won two straight games, and quarterback Russell Wilson seems to be getting his groove back. It looks as though he has shaken off the rust following a three-game absence due to the first significant injury of his career.

The Rams are riding high right now, but will be in line for a possible dog fight this weekend in Los Angeles. Keep an eye on this matchup, as the Rams look to not only push towards a playoff spot, but a now attainable NFC West crown.

Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions

The Arizona Cardinals not only took a tumble this past week with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but they also lost one of their key players in All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins will undergo season-ending surgery, which totally hampers this offense which has been considered one of the league’s best this year.

With only one win on the entire season, the Lions are head and shoulders above the rest of the league in terms of just how horrific they have been. There is always a chance in the league at an opposite, but facing off against a Detroit team this bad, do not hold your breath.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

A battle in the NFC East is on hand in this contest.

The Cowboys at 9-4 had a tough obstacle this past week with downing another division foe in the Washington Football Team, but they were successful, and it seems it will only be a matter of time before they clinch the division.

The Giants are on the opposite side of the spectrum here. At 4-9, they are virtually out of playoff contention, and are probably just hoping to provide some competitive misery for their divisional rivals.

The Cowboys have not looked super strong in the second half of the season, but with such a lack of competition in this division, they basically walk right in to a divisional crown it would seem.

This may be competitive, because you just never know with a team like the Giants. Nevertheless, all signs should point to a Cowboy victory as quarterback Dan Prescott and co. look to get back on track.

Washington Football Team @Philadelphia Eagles 

It may seem the NFC East crown is already in the hands of the Cowboys. However, this game has huge playoff implications and gives the victor a slight chance to still have a shot at the division. Both teams enter this contest as 6-7, and a win here will almost guarantee one of these teams a chance at a wildcard spot.

The Eagles are in a bit of a quarterback dilemma. After dazzling play from backup Gardner Minshew who replaced the injured Jalen Hurts in Week 13, the quarterbacks are currently splitting reps in practice. It would seem that Hurts being the incumbent would get the nod, but nothing has been stated surely to give the notion any merit.

On the other side, the Washington Football Team will look to get back to their winning ways. Prior to the Dallas loss, they had won four straight, and turned around their season which at one point looked doomed.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke will look to get this Washington team back into competing for the NFC East lead, while also trying to hold on to a vital Wildcard slot.

Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers

The boys from the Bay just will not seem to go away. After a disappointing loss in Week 13 to the Seahawks, the 49ers rebounded with a huge overtime win over the competitive Cincinnati Bengals.

The 49ers are hot right now and have won four of their last five contests. At 7-6, you would not think this wildcard hopeful is a team the Rams should have to worry about. However, head coach Sean McVay and the Rams have not beat this divisional rival since 2018.

The Falcons are a mixed bag here, at 6-7, they are totally still in the thick of things for a wildcard spot. But it is never safe to bet on them. Whenever they rise, they tend to fall right back down.

They may give the 49ers a fight in this matchup, but you just never know with a team led by a rapidly declining quarterback in Matt Ryan, and a defense that is allowing over 360 yards of offense per game.

Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens

The hope would be that the Packers can lose this matchup as the Los Angeles Rams are still clawing away at the top seed in the NFC. However, injuries may play a role in why this may not be the case.

In terms of a specific injury — the biggest in this contest will be the status of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The dangerous dual-threat quarterback is dealing with a lingering ankle issue, and his status is up in the air, with it seeming very likely he misses another contest due to the injury.

The Packers are hot right now, and are the top seed in the NFC. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers recovered against a very game Chicago Bears team last week to put on another dazzling display as he nears the top of the list for MVP supremacy.

Even if Jackson is good to go, he will be hobbled and facing a vaunted Green Bay defense, this should likely result in victory for the Packers.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This may seem crazy to say — but as a Los Angeles Rams fan, you should be cheering on Tom Brady in this one.

A loss in the one for the New Orleans Saints would inch the Rams to clinching a playoff spot. Either way, this should be the one contest you can be a Tom Brady supporter.

The chances the Saints have in this one is slim, and although the last time the Saints faced off against the Bucs they did win, this was earlier in the season, and the Saints are not the banged up mess they are currently.

Tom Brady and co. will look to march towards a likely NFC South title with this victory, and this should be the expectation as the Buccaneers are on a four-game winning streak.

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

This game like the game above, has huge playoff implications for the Los Angeles Rams. With a loss for the Vikings like the Saints before them, and a Rams win, this could signify a guaranteed playoff spot for Los Angeles.

The Vikings have had their highs and low’s this season, and would surely seem like the favorite compared to a Chicago team that is 4-9 and have lost seven of their last eight games, with the lone win being a close one over the league’s worst in the Detroit Lions.

Hold your horses on this one though. The Bears gave the Packers a run for their money last week, and although the record would state otherwise, they can be a pretty competitive foe.

The expectation would be that the Vikings will walk away with a win against their NFC North rival, but you never know in this division, or in this league at all with how up-and-down so many teams have played this year.

As a Rams fan you should be hoping for a Bears victory in the Monday night matchup, even with a Rams loss, a Vikings loss is still needed for the Rams to march towards a playoff berth.

 

 

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