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The nightmare before Christmas

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Have the Rams given fans false hope?

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams put on a aerial display with a resounding 34-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.

The victory kept their playoff hopes alive at least for another week.

But are those false hopes?

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray suddenly showed up on the final game injury report designated as questionable for the game due to a hamstring issue. Murray was obviously not 100%, and it affected his play. He lacked mobility resulting in a Cardinals offense not looking anything close to what it did against the San Francisco 49ers leading me to ask how much of what we saw of the Rams’ defense was the result of the Murray injury? Let’s also face the reality, that the Cardinals rank dead last in pass defense, so I also ask how much of the Rams’ high-powered offensive output was the result of a lousy Cardinals defense?

Hard to say or judge, but anytime you put up 34 points and hold the other team to 7 that equates to a pretty good performance especially coming off the humiliating loss to the Baltimore Ravens. That’s the way you rebound.

While I’m not inclined to totally write off the Rams yet, these next three games against the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys in Dallas and the Whiners in San Francisco (all of which are must-wins) will decide the future of the 2019 Rams.

Win these games and win out the season by beating the Cardinals again, and I can’t imagine the Rams not making the playoffs at 11-5 as a wildcard team.

Why this could be the nightmare before Christmas

When you’re outside looking in trying to make the playoffs, every loss down the stretch is another nail in the coffin which you can’t afford.

The Rams have the luxury of being able to decide their own fate, playing three of the next four against division rivals. Two of these opponents in the Seachickens and Whiners are ahead of the Rams in the standings, and both of them must play each other in Seattle. As a result, you could make an overly optimistic argument that the Rams still even have a shot of winning the division. A lot of crazy stuff has to happen for that to occur, so let’s leave that out of the thought process unless the crazy actually does happen.

After seeing the performance in Arizona, there’s no reason the Rams couldn’t win out and secure a playoff spot, but one game against a hapless and weakened Cardinals does not make a season.

The nightmare is the getting caught up in the hype that they’re in a good position with the possibility they can make the playoffs.

As always, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.

What I hate most about this is that come Christmas time or in my case Hanukkah, I will once again be building up my hopes of seeing my Rams win, make the playoffs, and win the Super Bowl only to wind up flat on my face with false hopes. The only thing I care about the most wonderful time of the year is seeing my Rams in the playoffs and at least part of the big show. The only gifts I want are the Rams winning. The only birthday present I want on December 23rd, the same day the Rams beat the Cleveland Browns to win the 1951 NFL Championship, is a win.

If the Rams lose on that day, cancel the birthday party. No cake. No presents to open. I respectfully decline to participate in any joyous celebration. I wish I wasn’t even born!

Even if the Rams win, I reserve the right to be critical including doing so about gifts I receive at my birthday party. Why would I want a sweater, pajamas, jacket, socks or some other item that doesn’t say “Los Angeles Rams” on it? That’s just stupid. If you can’t find something Rams-related to buy me, just give me the cash you were going to spend, and I will buy my own Rams birthday present.

I’ve tried hard to imagine this team doing the impossible, but then again anything is possible in this league. Just ask Philadelphia Eagles fans how they feel about their team losing to the Miami Dolphins this weekend.

I’m glad the Rams beat the snot out of the Cardinals. I’m happy that QB Jared Goff had a great game with game balls also going to TE Tyler Higbee and WR Robert Woods, and I love that S Taylor Rapp got his first interception and topped it off with as pick six for a touchdown. I’m glad that Todd Gurley looked like the running back we know he is.

That’s my Rams! That’s my team! That’s the NFC Champions out there.

Now let’s follow this up with a win against Seattle and just maybe, Christmas won’t be as nightmarishly bad as I thought it would be a week ago.