Of course, three is just one true and honest answer to any NFL team's question: Which is the most important game of the season? That answer is the very next game on the schedule. Of course, for the LA Rams, that means that their Week 11 game against the Seattle Seahawks is the most important game of the 2023 NFL season.
But in many more ways, the Rams game against their NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, is the most important game remaining on the Rams schedule.
Even at 3-6, the LA Rams still have the mathematical possibility of competing in postseason competition. But, depending on the outcome of the game against the Seahawks, that possibility either improves or is extinguished. Let me explain:
The NFC Conference will send all four NFC Divisional winners to the NFL Playoffs, plus the three NFC teams with the best remaining records. At 3-6, the LA Rams have a better shot of landing a Top-5 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft than in landing a berth in the 2024 NFL Playoffs. But that could change quickly.
Rams need to get red hot right now
The Seattle Seahawks are currently 6-3, but have lost one game to the LA Rams. If the Rams defeat the Seawhawks in Week 11, they fall to 6-4, and the Rams improve to 4-6. But the Rams will win all tiebreakers with the Seahawks, having defeated them twice in two games. That is very important.
Because the Rams have lost to the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Rams will lose tiebreakers to those teams as it stands. But an amazing thing happens if the Rams win in Week 11. Suddenly many of the remaining games on the Rams' schedule become winnable:
- Week 11- Sun. Nov. 19 @ 1:25 pm - vs. Seattle Seahawks
- Week 12 - Sun. Nov. 26 @ 1:25 pm - at Arizona Cardinals
- Week 13 - Sun. Dec. 3 @ 1:25 pm - vs. Cleveland Browns
- Week 14 - Sun. Dec. 10 @ 10:00 am - at Baltimore Ravens
- Week 15 - Sun Dec 17 @ 1:05 pm - vs. Washington Commanders
- THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
- Week 16 - Thu. Dec. 21 @ 5:15 pm - vs. New Orleans Saints
- Week 17 - Sun. Dec 31 @ 10:00 am - at New York Giants
- Week 18 - TBD - at San Francisco 49ers
If the Rams improve to 4-6, the Rams could arguably be expected to win in Week 12 against the 2-8 Arizona Cardinals. At 5-6, and with a two-game winning streak, the only game that the Rams are unlikely to win is Week 14 at the Baltimore Ravens.
A bit remote in terms of optimism? Perhaps. But a Week 11 win starts that ball rolling for the LA Rams in the right direction. If the Rams lose in Week 11, then the team falls to a record of 3-7, and should begin to focus exclusively on preparing to compete in 2024.
Don't buy the fact that the Rams need to have a high draft pick to succeed next season. The LA Rams have already proven with hitting multiple picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, a draft in which the Rams had no picks in Day 1. The Rams may have another long shopping list next year, but the team will have legitimate options to shop in the NFL Free Agency market as well.
The NFL schedulers knew that the 49ers were going to be a very competitive team this season, but set up the final game of their season against the LA Rams. Something tells be that Week 18 will bring more drama than speculation over whether the Rams starters can defeat a 49ers backup squad.
Stay turned . . .