Here’s how things look headed toward Week 13:
- San Francisco 49ers (10-1)
- New Orleans Saints (9-2)
- Green Bay Packers (8-3)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
- Seattle Seahawks (9-2)
- Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
- Los Angeles Rams (6-5)
- Chicago Bears (5-6)
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
- Carolina Panthers (5-6)
Needing help, the Rams got a sliver from the Green Bay Packers who lost to the San Francisco 49ers. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t help the Rams with their loss to the Seattle Seahawks. And we weren’t going to get anything from the Minnesota Vikings who were on a bye.
With the Seahawks at nine wins, the likeliest path for the Rams to the playoffs runs through the NFC North. With the Packers and Vikings both at 8-3, the Rams need some help from our friends from the coldlands. A nice little two-game losing streak would drop one of them to 8-5 which the Rams could meet with a rebound in the form of a two-game winning streak. It’s obviously not likely to be so straightforward, but you can see how the Rams could get into the mix in tighter proximity than they are in right now.
Here are the playoff picture matchups for Week 13:
San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens
They’re a combined 19-3. Kind of a big one.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
The capper on Thanksgiving is this classic NFC South rivalry. I’m quite sure the Falcons would love to get an upset and spoil Saints’ fans turkey day.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys v. Buffalo Bills
The Cowboys aren’t even in must-win territory thanks to the dismal state of the NFC East, but they sure could use a home win here having lost two of the last three.
Seattle Seahawks v. Minnesota Vikings
Look, I don’t know if I can bring myself to root for a Seahawks win. So I’m gonna put some blinders on and just hope for a Vikings loss...against whoever they happen to play this week.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
The Rams simply can’t afford to come out of this one without a win. And it’s looking a much more difficult proposition than a few weeks ago given (a) how the Rams are playing but also (b) how the Cardinals are playing behind rookie QB Kyler Murray.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
The Bears are still in the hunt albeit barely. They’ve got to keep their NFC North noses clean here. Rams fans are going to be Bears fans soon with the Packers and Vikings left on their schedule.
Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins
The Eagles are clinging on to their chances to take the NFC East. A win against the pitiful Dolphins is paramount with their NFC East-only schedule thereafter to close out their regular season.
Washington Panthers Opponents at Carolina Panthers
Carolina’s holding on by a string, but they’ve lost three in a row and four of their last five. They’re not going to run the table with the Seahawks and Saints left on the docket, so while the math can’t rule them out, we can for all practical purposes.
It obviously doesn’t look good overall, and last night puts a pretty sour shadow on top of things. But the pathway is pretty distinct.
Save for a complete collapse from one of the NFC West teams, the Rams are going to need an NFC North team just to struggle. A loss here or there will open the door.
The Rams’ ability to walk through it would depend on a course correction after losing two of the last three.