NFC Wild Card Hunt: Mapping Out The Last Remaining Road For The St. Louis Rams Into The Playoffs


Dec 13, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) passes the ball under pressure from Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bengals defeated the Eagles 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The chances of the St. Louis Rams are slim, but not necessarily in the “none” category just yet. In order for the Rams to make it into post-regular season play, they will need a ton of help and a crazy mixture of upsets and losses in the final two weeks of the season. There seems to be only one sequence of event that result in the St. Louis Rams making the playoffs this season. That path is extremely unlikely to happen given the teams in the formula, but in the world of the NFL, nothing is impossible. This particular patchwork path was laid out by ESPN’s Mike Sando immediately following the St. Louis Rams loss on Sunday. It involves three teams from the NFC West in the playoffs, which would be the first time in… well, a long time. Ramblin’ Fan will give a breakdown of each week, the revised standings, and the upsets that need to occur for a St. Louis Rams playoff berth. First, here are the current standings in the NFC for teams that have not already clinched a playoff spot (San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and Atlanta Falcons), including adjustment made through tie breakers:

4. Washington Redskins 8-6 (NFC East Division Champion)

5. Seattle Seahawks 9-5 (Wild Card)

6. Minnesota Vikings 8-6 (Wild Card)

7. Chicago Bears 8-6

8. Dallas Cowboys 8-6

9. New York Giants 8-6

10. St. Louis Rams 6-7-1

The Games That The Rams Need In Week 16

To start the breakdown, we jump first to Week 16, when the St. Louis Rams take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. There are six particular games that the St. Louis Rams should be focused on, some of which are more likely pan out than others. Here are the games we need…

St. Louis Rams over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints  over Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles over Washington Redskins

Houston Texans over Minnesota Vikings

Arizona Cardinals over Chicago Bears

Baltimore Ravens over New York Giants

That combination of losses actually does not change the standings within the NFC. However, it does move four teams within one game of the St. Louis Rams, including the team currently holding the final Wild Card slot:

4. Washington Redskins 8-7 (NFC East Division Champion)

5. Seattle Seahawks 10-5 (Wild Card)

6. Minnesota Vikings 8-7 (Wild Card)

7. Chicago Bears 8-7

8. Dallas Cowboys 8-7

9. New York Giants 8-7

10. St. Louis Rams 7-7-1

The Games That The Rams Need In Week 17, Assuming Week 16 Pans Out

Next, we will need each of the four teams immediately ahead of the St. Louis Rams to lose out, which would not completely be out of the question, considering the how poorly the Bears have played over the last half of the season, and how dominate the Packers have been. So here are those four game, and their outcomes in Week 17:

Detroit Lions over Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers over Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles over New York Giants

St. Louis Rams over Seattle Seahawks

Should all of those game work out, the ranks in the NFC would drastically shift, at least as much as they can possibly shift this late in December/January. Here are those rankings, should Week 16 and Week 17 pan out in the Rams favor:

4. Winner of  Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins 9-7 (NFC East Division Champion)

5. Seattle Seahawks 10-6 (Wild Card)

6.  St. Louis Rams 8-7-1 (Wild Card)

7.  Minnesota Vikings 8-8

8. Chicago Bears 8-8

9. Loser of Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins 8-8

10. New York Giants 8-8

The reason for the confusion in the final standings is due to Redskins and Cowboys facing off in Week 17. In this scenario, the winner of that game will be the conference champion, and the other will fall out of the playoffs completely. Ideally, the St. Louis Rams would like for the Cowboys to win that game, knocking Washington out of the playoffs and, thus, pushing their position in the draft higher up the board. However, should the rest of the games play out in perfect order, the outcome of that particular matchup will be irrelevant in terms of the playoff standings for the Rams.

That means, the St. Louis Rams will need for 10 games in the next two week to pan out in a very specific way, including winning their two remaining games. They will need for the lowly Eagles to come out of nowhere and take out both the Redskins and the Giants in the next two weeks, and hope the Cardinals can hit the replay button on their performance against the Lions, but this time against the Chicago Bears. Those are long odds, but there is still some tiny fragment of hope left for the Rams. Lets pray that the football gods are shining upon the team in coming weeks. What has two thumbs and just jumped on the Nick Foles bandwagon? *Points two thumbs at self* This guy!