The LA Rams playoff discussion we need to have right now…
Sit starters? Pro argument
Competition in professional sports depends almost entirely on a reward. That’s why the LA Rams pulled the starters in the fourth quarter of the New York Giants game, and the Houston Texans game. The game was already decided. The Rams had won by all accounts except for the game clock. Starters who get banged and bruised each game were gifted 15 extra minutes of game time to heal up.
Yes NFL starters are paid to compete. But that goes only so far. They are paid to play, not to be carried off the field, rushed to the nearest Emergency Room, and operated on to repair a broken bone or soft tissue damage. Bubble wrap? No. But why dodge speeding cars on a freeway for kicks?
The LA Rams built this roster to win games that matter. But in the last two games of the season, does it truly matter if the Rams play an extra game at SoFi or on the road? The worst that the LA Rams can finish this year is as the fifth seed in the NFL Playoffs. A quick visit to NFL history shows that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV as the fifth seed NFC team.
Sitting starters scenario
If the LA Rams do the unthinkable and sit all their starters for Weeks 17 and 18, the Rams will likely lose two games. But it’s the equivalent of two consecutive BYE weeks. Is that worth two losses? What if the LA Rams compete in Week 17, but sit their starters in Week 18. If the Cardinals lose Week 17 and the Rams win Week 17, then that game will be inconsequential to the Rams winning the NFC West Division. At 12-5, the LA Rams will play at least one home playoff game at SoFi Stadium.
The LA Rams play an early game in Week 17. The Rams play the second game in Week 18. If the Rams have a chance to leapfrog the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18, do they play their starters to do it? Or do the Rams sit starters regardless, and let their players heal and recuperate?
It’s a tough decision, but one that will be infinitely second-guessed by trolls and detractors. After all, the very nature of choosing one or the other eliminates the other scenario from the history books. So anyone can portray that path-not-chosen as the better direction to take.
What do you think? Should the Rams sit their starters before the playoffs? If so, when?