The LA Rams current seeding in the NFL Playoffs is not ideal, but there are even worse playoff scenarios
The 6-3 LA Rams were in a three-way pseudo-tie for the lead in the NFC West. Three-way because the Rams share the same record as that of the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. Pseudo-tie because we haven’t applied the NFL tiebreaker rules.
But that all changed in one game, as the Seattle Seahawks vaulted ahead of the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. That game simply transposed the Seahawks and the Cardinals in the NFL Playoff projections. As of right now, the Seahawks lead the NFC West with a record of 7-3. That has them in line for the third seed in the NFC playoff picture. The LA Rams, at 6-3, are seeded sixth. The Arizona Cardinals, now 6-4, have the seventh and final NFC playoff berth.
In case of a tie, the NFL has a ‘hierarchy’ of predetermined tiebreakers. Due to the unlikely event that the first tiebreaker fails to determine the higher seed, the NFL has crafted 12 tiebreakers. Prior to the Thursday Night Football game, the playoff picture looked like this:
NFL tiebreaker rules can be found on NFL.com and include the following, in order:
Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in common games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
What changed with TNF?
Since the Seahawks and Cardinals swapped playoffs spots, the latest scenario pits the LA Rams on the road against the Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals would begin the NFC playoffs on the road against the second-seeded New Orleans Saints. But that can all change this weekend as well. Here’s how:
If the LA Rams defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road, they will take over as the third-seed by their elevation to NFC West leader. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at 7-4, would fall to the sixth-seed in the NFC playoff picture. That would place the Bucs and Rams on a collision course in round one of the NFC Playoffs, as the Rams would host the Bucs.
If the Rams fall to the Bucs, they will land as the seventh-seed and will face the second-seed team, currently the New Orleans Saints. That’s not an ideal scenario, as the seventh-seed has the most difficult path through the playoffs. Of course, the Rams need to win games now to ensure that the team earns the best playoff berth possible. Beating the Bucs is a clear step to achieving the best playoff scenario possible.