For the second week, the Rams are more focused on draft order than the upcoming NFL playoffs. As a fan, I’m torn. On one hand, I’d like to keep winning because it just simply fun and the Lions draft pick gets worse as the Rams win games. But I also understand that the Rams have a multitude of holes and drafting sooner in the order is great benefit. This week the rooting guide will be focused almost entirely on the draft with a few useful nuggets about each game as always.
Dallas Cowboys @ Tennessee Titans (TNF)
On Thursday, Amazon brings fans what could have been a great matchup. Nobody could have foreseen the Titans morphing into a bottom 10 football team with Ryan Tannehill on IR and an offensive weapon cupboard as bare as any in the league. I’ve watched enough of Malik Willis already to see that he’s never going to be an NFL caliber thrower of the football. I’d expect Dallas to cruise in this one. Former Rams to watch: WR Robert Woods of the Titans and EDGE Dante Fowler Jr of the Cowboys.
Root for: the Cowboys to put the Titans out of their misery because nobody wants to see Malik Willis in a playoff atmosphere
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons (10:00 PST)
I made J.J. Watt the header image for this article to pay tribute to one of the best edge rushers I’ve seen play the game. He was also a class act both on and off the field, being well-known for giving back the community of the team he was playing for. The NFL will miss you J.J. This game is one that actually matters to the Rams as both teams involved have similar records and will be close to the Rams in the draft. Former Rams to watch: WR KhaDarel Hodge of the Falcons.
Root for: the Arizona Cardinals as they have the worse record
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (10:00 PST)
The Lions defense can’t stop a nose bleed and they face the electric Justin Fields on Sunday. The Lions are in the playoff hunt and are facing a Bears team that lacks offensive talent outside of their QB. I’d expect the Lions to pull away in this one, even with their defensive struggles. Former Rams to watch: QB Jared Goff, WR Josh Reynolds, and DT Michael Brockers of the Lions.
Root for: the Lions because they’d be a fresh face in the playoff field
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs (10:00 PST)
Denver will likely be a lamb led to slaughter on Sunday as the leagues worst offense will be tasked with keeping up with Patrick Mahomes. I’d bet the family farm on this being a 10+ point win for the Chiefs. There aren’t any notable Rams to watch in this one.
Root for: the Chiefs because the Broncos have forced fans to endure their stink all season
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (10:00 PST)
The Dolphins will be without Tua Tagavailoa who once again is in concussion protocol. I honestly feel the offense will get a bump without him as all I’ve seen from his play is a below average arm and poor mobility in the pocket. Regardless, this should be a tightly contested game that has actual playoff implications. There aren’t any former Rams to watch in this game.
Root for: the Dolphins because they’re the more exciting team with a better offensive unit
Indianapolis Colts @ New York Giants (10:00 PST)
The Colts are adrift at sea without a QB worthy of leading them. Nick Foles looked archaic last week and they face a Giants team with a playoff berth on the line. As boring as the Giants have been for the majority of the season, they are likely on their way to locking up a wild card spot. Former Rams to watch: S Terrell Burgess of the Giants and S Rodney McLeod of the Colts.
Root for: the Colts to potentially drop behind the Rams in the draft order
New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles (10:00 PST)
The Saints are technically still alive in the playoff hunt because they’re members of the worst division in football. They travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles who may be without Jalen Hurst once again. I expect this game could be closer than the betting lines will assume. Former Rams to watch: DE Robert Quinn of the Eagles.
Root for: the Saints to stay behind the Rams in the draft order
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10:00 PST)
This game is essentially an early playoff game as both of these teams are fighting for the top spot in the division. Carolina has played better ball behind Sam Darnold and a solid running game. The Buccaneers have struggled each week on offense and have lacked a balanced attack. Former Rams to watch: G Austin Corbett of the Panthers.
Root for: the Panthers to stay behind the Rams in draft position
Cleveland Browns @ Washington Commanders (10:00 PST)
The Commanders have more to play for in this game as they are in the mix for a wild card spot if they can win the next two games. Carson Wentz is back in the saddle after Taylor Heinicke was benched by head coach Ron Rivera. Former Rams to watch: S John Johnson of the Browns.
Root for: the Browns to stay behind the Rams in draft position
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (10:00 PST)
The red hot Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence head to Houston to tee off on the moribund Texans. I don’t expect this to be a very competitive game and the Jaguars are on the precipice of their first playoff berth since Blake Bortles. Former Rams to watch: CB Darious Williams of the Jaguars and WR Brandin Cooks, EDGE Obo Okoronkwo of the Texans.
Root for: the Jaguars because new faces in the playoffs is refreshing
San Francisco 49ers @ Las Vegas Raiders (1:05 PST)
The Raiders are moving forward with Jarrett Stidham as their new starter for the remainder of the season and face a 49ers team that is already a playoff lock. There isn’t much intrigue in this game other than seeing how the Raiders offense operates sans Derek Carr. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Samson Ebukam of the 49ers.
Root for: the Raiders to clobber a hated Rams rival and stay behind the Rams in the draft order
New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks (1:05 PST)
Zach Wilson is back to QB3 duties and Mike White has a chance to lead the Jets to the playoffs in the coming weeks. They face off against a Seahawks team that is also in the playoff hunt for a wild card. Expect this to be a contested game with two teams needing a win to stay alive. Former Rams to watch: C Austin Blythe of the Seahawks and DE John-Franklin Myers, S Lamarcus Joyner of the Jets.
Root for: the Jets to beat down a division rival of the Rams
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (1:05 PST)
This is the the runner up game of the week for me. Two division rivals square off with both teams having a lot to play for. The Vikings are still eyeing the #1 seed while the Packers are trying to sneak into the dance via a wild card spot. Should be an awesome, offensive game here. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Justin Hollins of the Packers and TE Johnny Mundt of the Vikings.
Root for: a fun, high scoring game to watch in the background and on Rams commercial breaks
Pittsburg Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (SNF)
Kenny Pickett and the Steelers look to keep Mike Tomlins streak of non-losing seasons alive but they’ll have to play a Ravens team battling for seeding in the AFC. Lamar Jackson is questionable again in this one and things don’t look too optimistic. I honestly could see a Steeler victory here. Former Rams to watch: CB Marcus Peters of the Ravens.
Root for: a close game that provides solid entertainment on Sunday night
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals (MNF)
Here it is: the game of the week. It’s a potential playoff preview game highlighted by two of the league’s brightest young stars in Joe Burrow and Josh Allen. The Bengals have been hot and are playing at home and there is seeding on the line. I can’t wait to watch this game. Former Rams to watch: G Rodger Saffold of the Bills.
Root for: a high scoring, fun game that ends on a last second field goal in OT