2021 LA Rams playoff picture forming via the ESPN Playoff machine

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Week 17

Even in success, the LA Rams are by no means ‘clear’ of competition. Even if (a big IF, by the way) the Rams get hot, other NFC teams are apt to get hot as well. The NFC is as good as it gets in terms of the top-tier teams, and the Rams must re-earn their place among them. The Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Green Bay Packers are already there.

LA Rams face Baltimore Ravens: We know that the Baltimore Ravens are a tough-minded physical team that will beat the snot out of you in the trenches, and then, as all eyes train on the running back to stop him, they start flinging the football to their receivers. This will not be an easy game for the Rams, no matter how you look at it. But if the Rams are going to succeed in hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, this is a game that the team must win.

Predicted score: LA Rams 24 Baltimore Ravens 23

Other games with NFL Playoff implications

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys: Well now, this is a game with a huge impact for the LA Rams. If the Cardinals win, that places pressure on the LA Rams to win in Week 18 just to keep their place in the NFC West. If the Dallas Cowboys win, that places just as much pressure on the LA Rams to win in Week 18 to have a shot at a BYE week in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.

The Cardinals’ defense can ground the Cowboys’ aerial assault, but they are no match for that 1-2 punch of the running game featuring Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard. This will be a good game to watch, and the outcome is hugely significant.

Predicted score: Dallas Cowboys 42 Arizona Cardinals 33

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers: The Vikings and the Packers rivalry is one of those hotly contested annual contests that inevitably do not rely upon the records of either team. The Vikings shocked the NFL by beating the Packers in a shootout.

Predicted score: Green Bay Packers 20 Minnesota Vikings 10