The Los Angeles Rams have never played this poorly under Sean McVay, but the light at the end of the tunnel is clear as day: Win four of the next five games and everything will be fine.
I know how tall of an order that sounds, especially for a team that is 29th in scoring, 31st in yards, 31st in rushing, and unable to protect Matthew Stafford or block for a running back. But the schedule says: This is possible.
Rams-Cardinals next week definitely determines who WON’T be going to the playoffs.— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) November 7, 2022
The Rams next face a 3-6 Arizona Cardinals team that L.A. has dominated for quite some time. The Rams have only lost one game to the Cardinals since McVay’s arrival in 2017.
If the L.A. Rams win this weekend, then McVay’s team will be 4-5 with eight games remaining. For the record, the leaders of the NFC South, the Bucs and Falcons, are 4-5. The NFC’s seventh playoff team is the 4-4 San Francisco 49ers.
If the Rams win this week against Arizona, the Rams could actually be “tied” for the final wild card spot already.
Up next after that is the 3-6 New Orleans Saints. Head coach Dennis Allen seems destined for unemployment again, as is starting quarterback Andy Dalton. Even if the Saints switch back to Jameis Winston, is that better? New Orleans is playing without Michael Thomas again, too. McVay is 3-1 in his career against the Saints.
If the Rams beat the Cardinals and Saints, then McVay will be 5-5 and potentially leading that seventh wild card spot.
Up after the Saints is the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s just move onto Week 13.
The Rams next face the Seahawks, a team that McVay has won eight of his last 10 games against. If L.A. and Aaron Donald take care of business with Seattle again, perhaps the Rams could be 6-6 or even 7-5 if they upset the Chiefs. But is it that crazy to see the Rams win three of their next four (Cardinals, Saints, Seahawks) and end up 6-6?
No. I think that might actually be the expectation.
Then the Rams could be 6-6 and hosting the Las Vegas Raiders, arguably the biggest disaster in the NFL this season. Yes, even bigger than the Packers, Bucs, and Rams! Las Vegas hired Josh McDaniels, traded for Davante Adams, and paid Derek Carr more money, but might be the worst team in the league. The way they are losing is atrocious. If McDaniels loses to Jeff Saturday this weekend, people will be calling for him to be fired less than a year into his Raiders tenure.
If the Rams win that game, they could be 7-6 or 6-7 headed into the final four games of the season.
The last four games of the season: 3-5 Packers, 3-5 Broncos, 5-3 Chargers, 6-3 Seahawks.
If the Rams were 7-6 at that point and split their remaining four games, then L.A. would finish 9-8. And guess what I think? There will be a 9-8 or 8-9 wild card team in the NFC.
It could still be the Rams.