NFL playoff scenarios: Assessing the Rams chances

Rick Stewart

Another week, another win has the Rams in the hunt for a playoff berth.

You don't get to talk about the St. Louis Rams and the playoffs in the same sentence very often. It happened in 2006 and again in 2010. Sunday's win in Buffalo lit the playoff candle for the Rams again this year. With three games left to play, the 6-6-1 Rams need a few dominoes to fall in their favor, but the possibility is really there.

Seattle and Chicago currently hold both Wild Card spots in the NFC, each team at 8-5. Seattle's 8-5 looks a lot different from Chicago's 8-5 after the Bears' loss to the Vikings this week. That teetering status is what the Rams and the other teams in the hunt ought to be keeping an eye on.

A trio of 7-6 squads sit between the Rams and a playoff spot: Dallas, Minnesota and Washington.

The Rams are going to need some of those teams to take a hit over the next three weeks in the loss column. St. Louis really needs to win its final three games too. It makes next week's game especially important, as must-win as it gets for playoff talk in St. Louis.

Minnesota comes to town in Week 15. It's also the Rams' last home game of the season. If the Rams win that one, it's off to Tampa Bay to face a Buccaneers team still clinging to playoff hopes of its own.

Speaking of tie-breakers, the Rams' win over the Redskins could come into play if those two teams end up tied for a Wild Card spot.

The season wraps up in Seattle, another team tied to the Rams' fortunes. Seattle plays Buffalo next week on the road and then gets San Francisco. Seattle has a two-game edge on the Rams in the race, but if they pull into a tie by Week 17, it could set up another showdown, a la 2010.

I suspect this Rams team won't go as quietly into the night as the one that got embarrassed two years ago.

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