Even after the LA Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14, the Rams needed help to close the distance on the Cardinals, a team that remained in the lead with the equivalent of a two-game lead with only four games remaining for both teams in the last month of the 2021 NFL season.
The 1-11-1 Detroit Lions hosted the 10-3 Arizona Cardinals on Week 15. For the Lions, they had already been eliminated from any post-season play and were tuning up their roster for the 2022 NFL season. For the Cardinals, they were fighting for home-field advantage throughout the NFL Playoffs and even had the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with a victory. The Cardinals were on the road and were heavy favorites to win. How favored? On game day, the line was up to 13.0 points.
But that’s why they play the game, isn’t it?
By the end of their Week 15 contest, the Detroit Lions dominated the Cardinals so well that the probability of winning improved from 17 percent at kickoff to 54 percent at the end of the first quarter with the Lions holding a 3-0 lead. By the end of the game, the Cardinals suffered a rather embarrassing loss by the score of 30-12 and were unable to clinch a playoff berth.
The door for LA Rams opens slightly
The loss also opened the door just a bit for the LA Rams to win the NFC West. Not by much, but by just enough to give the Rams some hope if they can somehow defeat the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.
With a win on Tuesday, the LA Rams can tie the Arizona Cardinals with a record of 10-4, with just three games remaining.
LA Rams final games
Week 15: vs Seattle (5-8)
Week 16: @ Minnesota (6-7)
Week 17: @ Baltimore (8-5)
Week 18: vs San Francisco (7-6)
Arizona Cardinals final games
Week 16: vs Indianapolis (8-6)
Week 17: @ Dallas (10-4)
Week 18: vs Seattle (5-8)
Right now, the LA Rams lose all tie-breakers, so it’s reasonable to expect the need for the Rams to finish the season with one more victory than the Cardinals to win the NFC West Division. With today’s loss, the Cardinals could certainly be projected to lose to the Colts and to the Cowboys. That means that the Rams will need to win three of their last four games to have a realistic shot at winning the division. And with the 49ers’ current winning streak against the Rams, a more likely scenario would be the Rams winning their next three games.
How likely is that? Well, the odds are better than the Cardinals dropping a game to the Detroit Lions. And we know how that turned out, don’t we?