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Los Angeles Rams perspective outlook coming out of the bye week

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Here’s how things look as the Rams head toward Week 13.

Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ah the bye week. Rest! Calm! Focus!

Combined with Thanksgiving, it was a leisurely Week 12 for the Los Angeles Rams and their fans. We got to kick back and watch the rest of the NFL battle things out on a wonderful Thursday slate and a woeful Sunday without being intimately involved ourselves.

But of course, the bye must, like all good things, come and go. And now, we’re headed back into the fray as the playoff push intensifies across the league.

Here’s how things look.

Injuries

Nothing overwhelming from last Monday night in the Rams’ historic win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, though the real key will be updates to RB Todd Gurley this week. Rams Head Coach Sean McVay confirmed the obvious after the game that Gurley had hurt his ankle early on. I’d expect it to be brought up today at media availability before the week of practice and injury reports starting on Wednesday.

Performance Issues

Have to think the big push here is for a rebound performance for the defense. After giving up 546 total yards and six passing touchdowns to Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes, the Rams head into Week 13 to take on the Detroit Lions’ offense led by QB Matt Stafford. While there’s talent around their offensive depth chart, it’s by no means a threatening unit and nothing close to what the Rams dealt with last Monday night.

It’s a big opportunity for Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips to solidify things heading into the playoff push.

Standings

With the Seattle Seahawks escaping North Carolina with a win over the Carolina Panthers, the Rams cannot quite yet claim the NFC West crown, but a Rams win or Seattle loss at any point hereafter will clinch it. No worries. Regardless, the division standings look quite nice:

But while the NFC West is all but wrapped up, the NFC playoff picture is starting to look very interesting:

It was time to start chopping off the bottom of the standings. The San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants all lost this week as they prepare in earnest for the offseason and the 2019 NFL Draft where as of today they would be picking, respectively, 1st, 2nd and 5th overall.

So now the bottom of the playoff picture includes the four-win teams which surprisingly include the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. After this week, it’ll be time to chop off any four-win teams. While the Falcons will have their hands full at home with the Baltimore Ravens, the Green Bay Packers are hosting the Cards. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invite the Carolina Panthers to Florida, and we’re up against the Lions. Suffice to say, I’d expect this picture to tighten in a week’s time.

At the top, the New Orleans Saints are taking on the Dallas Cowboys in North Texas on Thursday Night Football in what will be a huge showdown. As for the Rams and Chicago Bears, you could make a case that both are in trap game situations this week as we deal with the Lions and the Bears head out to play the Giants before the big Rams-Bears clash on Sunday Night Football next week.

And while this is a bit out of our purview, here’s how things are looking over in the AFC:

The Jacksonville Jaguars (!), New York Jets and Oakland Raiders are already into next season.

Tonight’s game between the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans obviously will have a huge impact here.

And like I said in yesterday’s open thread, the Denver Broncos are playing pretty strong football right now. They’re on the road next week to deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in what could be a very unwatchable albeit very important game.