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
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Scenario I: Seattle Seahawks loss

On paper, the Seattle Seahawks may be viewed as the favored team to win in Week 17. After all, the Seattle Seahawks (8-7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) have identical records, So why do I believe that the Steelers have any chance in this one?

Well, to be honest, the Pittsburgh Steelers circle the wagons about as well as any NFL team right now. For the Steelers to have any chance of the NFL Playoffs, they realistically have to win the remainder of their games, and hope at least two of the teams who are seeded ahead of them lose. Nobody expected the Steelers to win in Week 16, but they obliterated the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers are going with surprise starting QB Mason Rudolph against the Seahawks:

QB Mason Rudolph truly ignited the Steelers offense, scoring 34 points to top the team's best offensive output. He connected with WR George Pickens on four of six passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Even if the pair do not connect as well in Week 17, the threat of Pickens on deep routes will open up the Steelers rushing attack.

Scenario II: Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tie

The second scenario is less likely in Week 17, simply because of what must happen. In essence, the Rams will lose tiebreakers with the Green Bay Packers (7-8) or the Minnesota Vikings (7-8), two NFC North Division teams that face off in Week 17. So the Rams must win, and the Packers and Vikings game must end in a tie.

In that rare but mathematically possible scenario, the best that either the Packers or the Vikings can do is end the season with a record of 8-8-1. If the Rams do defeat the New York Giants, the worst that the Rams can do is finish the season with a record of 9-8, good enough to be seeded ahead of either team.

Right now, the three teams that remain in direct competition with the LA Rams for the two final Wild Card spots in the NFC Playoff race are the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers, and the Minnesota VIkings. As long as the Rams win the final two games on the Rams schedule, the Rams will play in the NFL Playoffs.