LA Rams News: 49ers victory sends MNF victor to face the Buccaneers
I’ve watched a lot of football on Wildcard Weekend, the first NFL Playoffs round of teams vying to advance to compete for, and win, the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl LVI. The Philadelphia Eagles were easily handled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the San Francisco 49ers handled, but not by much, the Dallas Cowboys. In both NFC playoff games, the outcomes were as expected.
But there were a few things that I wanted to happen before the LA Rams stepped foot onto the field for the last game of the Wildcard Round. The Arizona Cardinals arrive in town to face the LA Rams on Monday Night Football, on January 17, 2021, at 5:15 pm PT/8:15 pm ET and televised by ESPN. So far, what I’d hoped for, has occurred.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won. While I’m not a fan of the Buccaneers, nor of Tom Brady, I know that of all of the existing teams in the NFC bracket for the playoffs, the Rams seem to match up fairly well against the Bucs. The Rams have beaten the Buccaneers in their last two matchups. Yes, playoff football is a much different critter altogether. But the Buccaneers are fighting injuries just as the Rams are.
The win by the Buccaneers meant that the LA Rams if they win their contest, were going to be on the road. If the Cowboys had won, then the LA Rams would be traveling to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers, the team that has beaten the Rams over the last two times they have faced the team.
Niners win, vindicating Rams a bit
With a San Francisco 49ers win, the winner of the Cardinals vs. Buccaneers will travel to face the Buccaneers, and the 49ers will be traveling to face the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. Well, the San Francisco 49ers upset the Dallas Cowboys, and now the groundwork is set. The only piece to the NFC Divisional Round for the NFC is who will emerge the winner on Monday Night Football?
We’ll talk much more about that in the next 24 hours.
Right now, let’s talk about ‘around the corner’ scenarios? We know that the 49ers will face the Packers. But why is that a good thing? Well, to be honest, the 49ers have an uncanny mastery of the Packers much the same way that they do the LA Rams. But if you watched the 49ers against the Cowboys, you witnessed two things:
The 49ers are getting banged up. Their physical style of play injured three LA Rams players on Week 18. But against the Cowboys, a few of their players were shaken up too. Now the 49ers must travel to face a fully rested and fully prepared Green Bay Packers team. That means that it is the 49ers, and not the Rams, who play at a disadvantage in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
BYE week advantage lasts one week
Just as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved in last year’s Super Bowl Run, the BYE week advantage only lasts for one week. After that, the top-seeded team is on the same chaotic schedule as all of the other playoff teams. Right now, it’s the 49ers who must absorb that advantage.
So now we are down to the last game left in the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals vs. the LA Rams. There is a lot on the line, of course. The Rams advanced to the Divisional Round last year on the relief work of injured quarterback Jared Goff. Will a one-and-done playoff appearance this year be rather disappointing? Of course.
From what I’ve seen, many of the ‘expert’ panelists have chosen the Arizona Cardinals to win this one outright, even as the Rams remain the favorite (we’ll showcase the odds soon). This could be the one and only home-field game for the LA Rams, and it’s a tough time for the Rams to lose both starting safeties.
But the Cardinals are not immune to untimely injuries either.
But the Cardinals are expected to welcome back J.J. Watt to the defensive line
The Rams did face Watt in their Week 4 meeting. In that game, Watt recorded one tackle and two quarterback hits. Okay, so this is where we stand:
NFC Divisional Rounds
San Francisco 49ers (10-8, 6th-seed)
Green Bay Packers (13-4, 1st-seed)
Winner of Arizona Cardinals (11-6, 5th-seed) vs. LA Rams (12-5, 4th-seed)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-4, 2nd-seed)
There is a lot to cover for the LA Rams game still, but I like what has happened so far. Now, let me get my thoughts together because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover before kickoff on Monday Night Football.