Los Angeles Rams: Looking at the NFC Playoff Picture Before Week 18

by Alex Perl
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The Los Angeles Rams entered this season reaching the postseason in three of its last four seasons. They are once again in the playoffs this season and there are a plethora of different scenarios that could shake out this week. Even with a playoff position secured, the Rams need a victory in the last game of the season.

A win is the only way for the Rams to ensure that they secure the number two seed and win the NFC West. A win could also potentially eliminate  the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.

With the Arizona Cardinals breathing down the neck of the Rams, they can still win the division with a win and a Rams loss. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also right behind the Rams and trying to obtain the number two seed. Here is the updated playoff picture below. We will touch on just a few games this week that have major playoff implications for the Rams.

NFC Playoff Picture

1. Green Bay Packers: 13-3 

2. Los Angeles Rams: 12-4

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 12-4

4. Dallas Cowboys: 11-5

5. Arizona Cardinals: 11-5

6. San Francisco 49ers: 9-7

7. Philadelphia Eagles: 9-7

Current Matchup: Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles

If this playoffs had started this week like in years past, the Rams would be playing the Philadelphia Eagles. This would be an ideal matchup for the Rams as the Eagles are still a tier or two below the top contenders. The offense with Jalen Hurts is limited and the Eagles are 0-6 against teams with a winning record.

On top of that, the Eagles offense is centered around running the ball while stopping the run is what the Rams defense does best. For this matchup to stand, the Rams need to win on Sunday and then they need wins from the Falcons and Cowboys.

Week 18 Matchup: Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers

By this point, there is not a single person not familiar with the Rams struggles against the 49ers. In fact, the Los Angeles Rams have not beaten the 49ers since 2018. No matter how successful the Rams are from season-to-season, Sean McVay and co. can not seem to figure out this franchise.

The 49ers already beat the Rams with ease earlier this season at home. However, the Rams are hoping some home cooking in this clash will play the difference. A win will it put a dent in the 49ers chances of reaching the playoff and end the five-game skid. A win also secures the NFC West and number two seed.

This contest is by far the most important to watch in the entirety of the Rams season. Keep your eyes glued intently on this one.

Week 18 Matchups to Watch

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

The Philadelphia Eagles wrap up their season with an NFC East matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys won this first matchup between these two teams 41-21. With a Dallas win, the Los Angeles Rams could still host the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round next week.

There is also some seeding implication in this game as well. With a Cowboys win plus a Rams and Cardinals loss, the Rams could drop down as far as the four seed in the NFC.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals

The Seahawks have been eliminated from playoff contention. At this point, they are playing for dignity. With no first round pick, they don’t have a draft position to better and therefore will be looking to win. They are still dangerous and have a lot of talented players on their roster.

The Cardinals are going to go all out to win this game. They still have a slight chance to win the NFC West, however, it will all be for naught if they lose to the Seahawks. The Cardinals have been depleted recently with injuries. After a three-game losing streak, they finally got back on track last week against the Dallas Cowboys.

Keep an eye out on this one. If the Seahawks prevail, the Rams will win the division no matter the outcome in their season finale.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons

This will be another big matchup this week and one Rams fans will want to pay attention to. If the Rams beat the 49ers and the Saints win, the 49ers will be eliminated from the playoffs. This scenario would also likely lead to a Rams and Saints matchup in the first round.

However, with a Falcons win, the 49ers could still make the postseason which could be a scenario that the Rams want to avoid. With that said, a Falcons win is the only way for the Rams to secure a favorable first round matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Panthers have been a mixed bunch this season and are heavy underdogs. The Buccaneers are tied with the Rams at 12-4. However, a loss to the Rams in Week 3 has them firmly behind Los Angeles.

With a Rams loss, and a win for the Buccaneers, they can overtake Los Angeles and move into second place in the NFC. The Green Bay Packers have already locked up the top seed in the NFC,. The race for number two is alive and well, even with only one game remaining.

Keep an eye on this clash, especially if the Rams falter at home this week.

 

 

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