Playoff implications for Week 17: 2 scenarios that LA Rams can clinch a playoff spot

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
2 of 3

LAR win + SEA loss

The most likely scenario to clinch a playoff spot for the LA Rams in Week 17 is one that involves the LA Rams (8-7) claiming victory over the New York GIants (5-10), plus a visiting Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) team defeating the Seattle Seahawks (8-7). Let's discuss both games briefly.

The LA Rams are still red hot, and have returned to a two-game winning streak after losing a heartbreaker in overtime on the road to the Baltimore Ravens (12-3). The Giants have started three different quarterbacks this season, none of whom have been particularly bad, or particularly effective, this season. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones suffered an ACL injury on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders. But even before he was lost to the season, the Giants had pivoted to rookie QB Tommy DeVito or veteran QB Tyrod Taylor. The Giants have been most successful (3-5) behind rookie DeVito

Keys to a Week 17 win

The key to beating the New York Giants has invariably been getting after the quarterback. That has not exactly been a strong suit of the Rams defense this season, but that could change quickly. Giants quarterbacks have been sacked a total of 77 times in just 15 games, an average of 5.1 quarterback sacks per game. But when facing the Seattle Seahawks, Giants quarterbacks were sacked 10 times.

Of course, Giants RB Saquon Barkley is always a threat to gash defenses for 100+ yards in a game, so the Rams will focus on shutting him down early. But if the Rams can attain a solid lead in Week 17, I look for the combination of DL Aaron Donald and Kobit Turner, plus OLBs Michael Hoecht and Byron Young, to emerge from this one with as many as five QB sacks.

It's ironic that a team whose offensive identity is built around a running back could struggle against the run, but that is where the Giants find themselves. The Giants are the 29th-ranked rush defense in the NFL, so you have to expect the Rams to run against them. The Giants allow a whopping average of 4.7 yards per run, so the Rams would be foolish to pass more often than run in this game.

As long as the Rams balance their offensive assault in Week 17, they should be able to claim a victory.