The Green Bay Packers defeated the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football by a score of 27-24, in a game that came down to a Packers interception of Cardinals QB Kyler Murray in their end zone. The repercussions of that outcome, despite the fact that the game was played in Week 8 of the 17-game 2021 NFL season, will have a tremendous impact on the NFC playoff picture.
Now, the LA Rams have to take advantage of an opportunity that has been gifted to them.
The LA Rams have a chance to arrive at the same 7-1 record that the Arizona Cardinals now have. In truth, due to the NFL tiebreaker rules, the best that the Rams can hope to do now is to remain in the hunt with a victory in Week 8. Because the Cardinals defeated the Rams, they win the head-to-head tiebreaker. Because the Packers defeated the Cardinals, they win that head to head. Because the Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Rams win that head-to-head tiebreaker.
But with what could sort out as a five-team tiebreaker, the LA Rams will lose their chance at winning the NFC West outright to the Cardinals. That means that, even now, the best the Rams can hope for with winning is the top Wild Card seed. The Rams have their sights set on something higher.
The LA Rams will travel for the ever-important rematch on December 13th with the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, the Rams will have a pretty tough schedule in the meantime.
Week 8: @ Houston (1-5)
Week 9: vs. Tennessee (4-2)
Week 10: @ San Francisco (2-3)
Week 11: BYE WEEK
Week 12: @ Green Bay Packers (7-1)
Week 13: Jaguars (1-5)
Week 14: @ Arizona (7-1)
The Tennessee Titans, the Green Bay Packers, and the Arizona Cardinals all boast strongly competitive teams. Even the San Francisco 49ers, currently on a winning streak against the LA Rams, will be a tough challenge.
The loss by the Cardinals does not ensure anything for the Rams. But it does make the path to the NFC West title easier. No matter how the schedule is sliced up and analyzed, the Rams need to win the remaining four games in the NFC West to have a realistic chance of any NFC West title.
Is it too soon to think about the NFL playoffs? Well, ask the Arizona Cardinals that question. Their first and only loss of the season, to the Packers, has sealed any head-to-head tiebreaker in Green Bay’s favor. The LA Rams can avoid that What-if? mindset by continuing to win. In Week 8, the Rams face the Houston Texans (1-6) in Houston. The LA Rams need to win. Let’s hope they ignore the fact that they are heavily favored.