LA Rams win, but path to NFL playoffs still muddy

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

After the LA Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks, they are in a three-way tie for the NFC West lead, but the NFL Playoffs are not guaranteed

The LA Rams faced a must-win game and won. That may seem to be a relatively easy task, it wasn’t. The Seattle Seahawks are a perennial NFL powerhouse, and their offense was clicking on all cylinders this year.  Their quarterback Russell Wilson has found a pair of receivers that can give most NFL defenses headaches. The Seahawks also have a respectable running game.

If you thought that one win would suddenly knock down the door for the Rams to enter the NFC Playoff picture this year, you were unfortunately mistaken. The hard-fought victory, while it has earned the Rams a share of the NFC West, merely has raised the stakes for the Rams now. Other teams are winning too.  As long as they are winning, the Rams will have to keep winning to keep pace.

Bad News Good News

So the bad news today is that the Rams are still in the ‘wild card’ track to the NFC Playoffs.  But even worse, the Rams are not even the top-seeded wild card team right now.  You see, thanks to their 2-0 NFC West division record, the Arizona Cardinals have the tie-breakers working in their favor. That’s why the Seattle Seahawks suddenly find themselves clinging to the seventh and final NFC Playoff berth right now. But the 7-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the top wild-card berth with a better record.

The good news is that the teams that stand between the Rams and the NFL Playoffs are on the schedule. That means that the LA Rams do in fact control their own destiny. Let’s be clear though. That means that the Rams must be able to defeat very successful teams who themselves have defeated very successful teams.

The long and winding road

The Rams will have a chance to slog through the muddy route to the playoffs. After this ever-important win, the team will now travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road on Monday Night Football. Then, on a short week, the Rams will need to fly home to face the formidable San Francisco 49ers once more. Then the team travels to Arizona for another NFC West showdown.

The Rams close out the 2020 season with two home games against the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks on the road, and finally, close out the season at home against the Arizona Cardinals.  There are no easy wins left. Even the desperate Jets can be dangerous if taken lightly. If all things are equal in the NFC West, the Rams win two more division games (split with each team) and should win the Patriots and Jets games.

Next. The LA Rams needed this win against Seattle. dark

That should place the Rams at 10-6, even if the Rams lose to the Bucs, and drop one to both the Seahawks and the Cards. That’s a very impressive season for a team most expected to win between six and eight games. But if the Rams can pull off more wins, this team can win the NFC West and could vie for the NFC Playoff bye by earning the top-seed.