Rams vs Lions: Prepare for a crazy wild Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs

Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
5 of 6

Both teams are rapidly improving

The LA Rams may have been the toughest possible Wild Card team for the Detroit Lions to face in the Wild Card Round. The Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) had lost five of their last six games. The Eagles were 10-1 at one point this season. The Green Bay Packers (9-8) made it into the NFL Playoffs, and even split their two-game series with the Lions in the regular season. But the Lions know the Packers, and in a win-or-go-home playoff game, the Lions would be expected to win.

That is not to say that the Lions are an underdog against the LA Rams, nor should they be. The Detroit Lions have improved from a 3-13-1 team in 2021 to a 9-8 team in 2022 that barely missed the NFL Playoffs to a 12-5 team in 2023 that has won the NFC North Division crown. This is a team that has improved across the board the right way, and winning their division title this season could very likely be the first of many.

The LA Rams have improved from a 5-12 team in 2022 to a 10-7 team in 2023. What makes their rebound so astonishing is the fact that the Rams shed veterans, assumed a $77 million dead salary cap in 2023, did not possess or use a first round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and only signed NFL veteran free agents to team-friendly contracts, often for no more than the bare minimum.

So how did both teams improve so quickly?

While the tactics of both teams are vastly different, both teams embraced the fun of playing football quality. That enabled both the Lions and the Rams to quickly pivot to on-field success despite restocking their rosters.