It’s the final week of the NFL season. By the end of the final slate of games, we should know who the Los Angeles Rams will play in 2023. While we won’t know the order of the opponents until the schedule makers work their magic over the summer, we will at least know the slate of opponents.
As the winners of NFC West in 2021, the Rams had the wonderful privilege of playing a first place schedule. The Rams have gone 0-3 against those fellow first place teams. Sitting at 5-11 and in third place in the NFC West heading into the final game, there is still a chance that the Rams end up with a last place schedule.
Who are the Rams Already Set to Play in 2023?
Most of the Rams 2023 schedule is already set in place. They are set to play the NFC East and AFC North next season with home games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders and then the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Outside of the NFC West home games, the Rams are also set to play an NFC South opponent at SoFi next season. This opponent is determined by the place in the division. If the Rams finish fourth, they would play the fourth place NFC South team.
On the road, the Rams would have the rest of the NFC East which would be the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants and then the remainder of the AFC North which are the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams would also host the third place NFC North opponent.
The final road game outside of the NFC West is an AFC South opponent which is determined by division placement.
How can the Rams Finish Fourth in the NFC West?
For the Rams to have a last place schedule heading into next season, they would obviously need to finish last place in the NFC West. Right now, that’s between the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals.
In Week 18, the Rams finish on the road against the Seattle Seahawks while the Cardinals are at San Francisco for a game against the 49ers. With the Rams sitting at 5-11 and the Cardinals at 4-12, the Rams would need to lose to the Seahawks and for the Cardinals to win in order to finish last place in the NFC West.
Both teams would finish 5-12, but with a better division record, the Cardinals would take third place.
With all of that being said, the 49ers are favored by 14 points against the Cardinals. David Blough will likely be under center again instead of Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy. It would take a huge upset for the Cardinals to win on the road against a 49ers team still fighting for the number one seed.
Who will the Rams Remaining 2023 Opponents Be?
As mentioned, there are still a handful of opponents that we don’t know yet on the Rams schedule. They play an NFC South opponent, NFC North opponent, and AFC South opponent.
Let’s assume that the Rams finish third place in the NFC West as a Cardinals win against the 49ers seems highly unlikely.
The remaining NFC opponents is where things get a little more complicated. Whoever loses the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers finale on Sunday Night Football will end up third place in the NFC North. The Rams would play the loser of that game on the road in 2023. If you’re keeping track, with a Lions win, the Rams would travel to Lambeau Field to play the Packers for a fourth straight season.
Lastly, the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons are all still in play for the Rams next season as the third place opponent. The Saints host Panthers on Sunday while the Falcons play at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If the Buccaneers beat the Atlanta Falcons, the Rams would play the loser of the Panthers and Saints game. However, in the event of a Falcons win, the Rams would play Atlanta if the Saints are able to beat the Panthers. If the Falcons and Panthers win, the Rams would play the Saints.
Yes, it’s complicated, but it will all come together on Sunday. While a fourth place schedule would be nice, in all likelihood, the Rams will finish in third place. If they can stay healthier in 2023, they should still be in good position to bounce back.