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NFL Week 15 game thread: Playoff implications, Rams draft order

The Rams return to the field on Monday in Lambeau

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams play the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Talk about the NFL’s Sunday games here. What are the playoff implications this weekend? How about games that might impact the top of the second round, when the Rams are on the clock next year?


The Falcons are 5-8 but only one game behind the Bucs in first place in the NFC South. Not even the 4-9 Saints can count themselves out quite yet. Atlanta has benched Marcus Mariota for rookie Desmond Ridder at quarterback.


Carolina is 5-8 and also one game behind Tampa Bay. They have won their last two games. If Pittsburgh loses and L.A. wins, then the Rams and Steelers will both be 5-9.


Despite a 12-1 record, Philly hasn’t been able to clinch the NFC East yet. And they can’t this week either. Chicago is 3-10. If the Bears win and the Rams lose, both teams will be 4-10. Chicago is currently set to pick third in draft order.


Kansas City clinches the AFC West with a win or a Chargers loss. I won’t be addressing any scenarios today that involve ties. Not interested! A loss moves Houston one week away from potentially clinching the number one pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.


The Cowboys clinch a playoff berth in the NFC with a win or if the Lions or Commanders lose. Jacksonville is 5-8, so same scenario about the Steelers/Rams applies here.


The Jets need to win to keep pace with the Patriots and Chargers for the final AFCC Wild card berth. All three teams are 7-6. A Lions win ties them with Seattle at 7-7, but not quite into the playoff picture yet. That would have to come next week if Detroit beats the Jets today.


Denver is going to protect Russell Wilson and keep him off the field today. Denver holds the number two overall pick and that is going to the Seahawks, as well as their second round pick. A Broncos loss and a Texans win would close the gap for the number one pick to a half-game. But Denver and L.A. could also have the same record by the end of the week.


Patriots hold the final playoff seed in the AFC for now. Las Vegas is 5-8.


Tennessee has a two-game lead over Jacksonville in the AFC South, but can’t clinch this week. The Chargers need to win to keep pace in the wild card. And maybe for Brandon Staley to keep his job.


The Bucs must win to stay in first place. A Cincinnati win gives them a big one-game advantage following Baltimore’s loss on Saturday.


Sunday Night Football. Both teams are 7-5-1. The winner has a big step towards making the playoffs. The loser is still in wild card position because of Seattle’s Thursday loss. But the Lions are coming for them.