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NFL Week 12 early game live thread

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Here’s the early slate prior to Rams-Saints.

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Now that we’re deep into November, nearly every game has some kind of playoff implications. For the Los Angeles Rams, the early action from the rest of the NFC is going to have major impacts on the Rams’ playoff hopes.

Here’s how the NFC stacks up going into today:

Week 12 playoff picture prior to Sunday kickoffs
Week 12 playoff picture prior to Sunday kickoffs
via ESPN

We’ve yet to see a strong schism form yet though losses from the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be time to put a bar between the 11th seeded Washington Playoff Hopefuls and Arizona.

As the NFC West leaders, the Rams are in the driver’s seat. As the wild card picture begins shaping up, we’ll have to see if we enjoy even more comfort having stacked up seven wins already.

Here’s the early schedule today with some added perspective from a playoffs standings standpoint.


Cleveland Browns (0-10) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

AFC North barrel-scraper here. Outside of fantasy implications and NFL Draft order impact, not much going on here.

Rams playoff impact

Nope.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

Should Atlanta hold home field today, Tampa’s looking at a pretty rough finish to 2017. The Bucs ended their five-game losing streak a couple of weeks ago, but suffice to say this was not the season they were hoping for coming out of Hard Knocks.

Rams playoff impact

This really comes down to the Falcons (and the New Orleans Saints, but we can’t do anything about the Falcons today). The Saints are atop the NFC South at 8-2 while the Falcons are deep in the wild card mix at 6-4. The rub? The Carolina Panthers are 7-3. The South is going to have a wild finish one way or the other.

Tennessee Titans (6-4) at Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

The Colts are onto 2018 with the hopes that QB Andrew Luck returns none the worse for wear. Their final six games this year though are set to have a major impact on the AFC playoff picture.

For Tennessee, a road win would be a major boost before inviting the Houston Texans to Nashville ahead of a two-game road swing against the bottom pair of the NFC West.

Rams playoff impact

Nothing direct out of this one, but the Titans have an interesting linkage to the Rams since relocating from Houston in 1997. That they, like the Rams, still have the Cards and San Francisco 49ers on the books is just another one of those connections that seem to have these two franchises intertwined in the weird NFL fates.

Buffalo Bills (5-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

This is all but a must-win for the Chiefs.

After starting 5-0 and looking the part of perhaps the best team in the NFL, they’ve since lost four of their last five games. Fortunately, four of their next five games are at home. They severely need to take advantage of a reeling Bills side that is riding a three-game losing streak and now throws into the mix an all-time confusing call from HC Sean McDermott a week ago in benching QB Tyrod Taylor for rookie QB Nathan Peterman who threw five first half interceptions.

Rams playoff impact

Not anymore. I do wonder, though, how much the QB decision and its ultimate result might have catalyzed a Los Angeles Chargers rebirth. That five-interception half propelled the Bolts to a 54-24 win that ended a two-game losing streak ahead of Thursday’s huge win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. If the Chargers can take care of the Browns and Washington in the next two weeks and get out to 7-6, they’ll be in the thick of the playoff mix with that Bills decision to make...and the #FightforLA will be much more interesting for it.

Miami Dolphins (4-6) at New England Patriots (8-2)

The Pats are the Pats again on a six-game winning streak ready to make their home field playoff push.

The Fins are the Fins again on a four-game losing streak having squandered a 4-2 start.

The most obvious result of the day?

Rams playoff impact

This one’s all AFC.

Carolina Panthers (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)

One of the most interesting games of the week.

There’s a good chance one of the four-win teams in the AFC creep into the playoffs while the NFC South is the best division in the NFL three-deep.

Rams playoff impact

Regardless of how it plays out, this will bring some clarity to the NFC South. And of course the Rams are going to play a part in that...

Chicago Bears (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

While it doesn’t look like anyone or anything is going to slow down Philly (and I’m not sure a three-win Bears team on the road qualifies in that category), the Eagles have the Seattle Seahawks and Rams on the road the next two weeks. They’ve all but locked in their playoff ticket, but the first two games of their three-game road swing will tell us how ready they are for the real challenge.

Rams playoff impact

Barring a huge turnaround for either team, these two are locked in for their 2017 fates.