As many of you may or may not have noticed, the St. Louis Rams are not playing today. While the squad gets some well deserved rest, Rams Nation will be looking around the league at other games to entertain them this weekend. However, as a fan, there is no such thing as as “taking the weekend off” from sports. So instead, we have put together this “cheering guide” to help you hone in on which teams you should be throwing your support behind this weekend.
While we all are still a bit salty that the St. Louis Rams passed over DeSean Jackson in favor of Donnie Avery, the Eagles have the potential to be the St. Louis Rams best friend this weekend. First and foremost, they are taking on the Washington Redskins. With the Rams owning the rights to their 1st-rounder in the 2014 NFL Draft, each Redskins loss inches the pick higher and higher up the board in April. Moreover, with the NFC East looking like the 2010 NFC West, no team is out of the playoff hunt. If the Eagles get the victory today, they will have a 3.5 win lead on the Redskins in the division, meaning the Rams pick (via Washington) won’t magically fall into the 20s with a lucky Washington playoff birth.
In a less direct way, the Bills can also help the St. Louis Rams maintain a high draft pick with a win this weekend over the New York Jets. If the season ended today, Buffalo would pick No.6 overall in the draft, one spot ahead of the Redskins (i.e. the Rams). Combined with a Washington loss, the Bills would jump the Redskins in the league standings with a victory today, sporting a .364 win percentage.
Neither team is a legitimate threat in their conference to make the playoffs. However, both are currently slotted below the Washington Redskins in the league standings, which means they would be picking before the Rams in the Draft. Continuing on with this “higher draft pick” theme, wins by the Texans and Falcons, combined with a Washington loss, puts all three at a tie, with a .300 win percentage this season. Assuming those teams had the same record at the end of the season, the Washington Redskins would likely get to pick first, with the tiebreaker going to the team with the easiest “strength of schedule.
If you haven’t figured it out already, the rest of the season we should want 1) the Redskins to lose every game and 2) those teams ranked below the Redskins in the league standing (i.e. Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Atlanta, Houston, and Minnesota) to win every game.
Minnesota is in the exact same position as Atlanta and Houston, with a win sending them to .300 on the season. However, unlike those two teams, who are facing the Buccaneers and Raiders, respectively, the Vikings are facing off against the Seattle Seahawks. At this point, the chances of anyone besides the Seahawks taking the NFC West crown are slim-to-none. However, the only thing more satisfying than a Rams win or a Redskins loss is watching the ‘Hawks get dropped…
The Saints nearly have a playoff slot signed, sealed, and delivered, assuming they do not implode in the back end of the season. The San Francisco 49ers, on the other hand, are still fighting to maintain their NFC Wild Card spot. If the season ended today, they would be sitting at No. 6 in the NFC, with Chicago, Green Bay, and Arizona right on their tails. Working out the tiebreaker system is a little difficult with so many potential moving parts in the middle of that pack. However, with a Packers win over the Giants and a Bears win over the Ravens, the 49ers could be in position to fall behind in the race for the Wild Card. That should be music to everyone’s ears in St. Louis!