LA Rams Week 12 has a significant bearing on the future of the NFC West

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams. Aaron Donald, Joshua Dobbs
Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams. Aaron Donald, Joshua Dobbs / Harry How/GettyImages

The LA Rams (4-6) travel to face the Arizona Cardinals (2-9) in Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season. If the Rams can play well, they could end the game with the victory, and improve to a record of 5-6. While that record will push the LA Rams out of a Top-10 pick for the 2024 NFL Draft, there are many reasons to hope for a Rams win.

With seven slots for the upcoming NFL Playoffs, the LA Rams are currently in ninth place. The NFC is not exactly a division filled with powerhouse teams. The two teams that currently stand between the Rams and the seventh and final playoff berth are the Green Bay Packers (4-6) and the Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

While the Rams do not face the Vikings this year, and have already lost a heartbreaker to the Packers due to the injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford, all is not lost for the Rams. You see, the Rams roster was build on a foundation of young players and incredible coaches who have coached up the Rams all season long. And with each game, those younger players continue to improve. That will make the final seven games on the Rams schedule worth viewing.

But there is more to be pleased about the LA Rams than both the 2024 NFL Draft and the upcoming NFL Playoffs. Now, let me explain:

Rams have a chance to sweep both Seahawks and Cardinals

As of today, the LA Rams are 4-6, but have a record of 3-1 in the NFC West Division. With a win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12, the Rams will improve to an overall record of 5-6, but will also improve to a record of 4-1 in the NFC Western Division. That's significant.

Since the LA Rams will face the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers twice a season, beating those teams has the extra bonus of ensuring that the Rams will win some games each season. And since all the NFL tiebreakers that kick in to determine teams that will compete in the postseason begin with the standing in the NFC Western Division, a Rams team that dominates the division has a much better chance of competing in the playoffs each year.

While the Rams are still trying to solve the Rubik's Cube of beating the San Francisco 49ers, the team has no such mental block when it comes to beating either the Seahawks or the Cardinals. While that is a good thing for the Rams, it's already creating problems for the Seahawks, and it will likely pose a significant problem for the Cardinals going forward too

With 10 games under the bridge of the 2023 NFL season already, the Rams schedule begins to lighten up significantly. While the Rams must still face the Baltimore Ravens (8-3), Cleveland Browns (7-3), and San Francisco 49ers (7-3), the Rams will also have a chance to face the Arizona Cardinals (2-9), New York Giants (3-8 ), Washington Commanders (4-7 ), and New Orleans Saints (5-5).

Ultimately, the Rams are still in the running for the NFL Playoffs. And if the dominoes tumble on the Rams, the team is still competing for a pretty impressive selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. But I'm keeping the 2024 NFL season in my peripheral vision. This Rams roster is loaded with surprisingly effective players who should be extended for the 2024 season and beyond.

It all starts with beating teams in the NFC West Division. If the Rams defeat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12, the Rams will finish no worse that 4-2 in the division. That's a great first step for this team, and a huge headache for the Seahawks and the Cardinals, for 202