“These two franchises became intertwined when they swapped quarterbacks Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford, with multiple juicy draft picks making the trip to Detroit. Stafford and the Rams marched to the Super Bowl title last season, while a section of Lions fans adopted the “Detroit Rams” moniker to support their longtime quarterback.
This year, the focus has swapped to fans watching the Rams struggle, with Detroit’s draft pick via the Stafford-Goff trade rising in the order. That focus comes to a halt this weekend, with the Lions needing the Rams to beat the Seattle Seahawks to win their way into the postseason. If the Rams win that game, the season finale tilt against the Packers under the lights becomes a win-and-in game for both sides. If LA loses its 12th game of the campaign, then that pick could climb back into the top five and even as high as No. 3 in certain scenarios.
Goff was asked in the locker room if he called some of his old friends to pick up their game and get a win this week, saying: “No. That’d be nice. Yeah, we’ll see.”
Coach McVay sends his thoughts and prayers to Damar Hamlin and the Buffalo Bills. pic.twitter.com/LMpkO0JEtw— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 4, 2023
“SEATTLE — — Once all the games of Week 17 were settled, Quandre Diggs grabbed his phone and started firing off messages to the few players he still knows with his former team in Detroit.
The Seattle Seahawks know they need help and Diggs wasn’t shy about trying to provide incentives.
“For me, you hit up your old friends and I am like, ‘Hey, I wouldn’t mind taking y’all on vacation if you go ahead and get a ‘W.’ I will pay for your vacation,’” Diggs joked. “You just try to handle your business, first of all.”
Handling business for the Seahawks (8-8) means closing out the regular season Sunday with a win over the Los Angeles Rams. Seattle’s only path to the playoffs involves a win over the Rams and then sitting around Sunday night hoping Detroit can come through with a victory over Green Bay that would send the Seahawks to the postseason.
It’s an awkward situation for both the Seahawks and Lions. Detroit would be eliminated by a Seattle win, and the Lions’ only chance of advancing requires a win by Los Angeles (5-11) over the Seahawks. In that case, the Sunday night matchup would be a winner-in, loser-out matchup between the Lions and Packers.
But if Seattle wins in the afternoon, the Lions will only be playing for pride and maybe a slight incentive from one of their former teammates.
“Hopefully my guys can pull through, they can go over there and get a ‘W,’ we handle our business, and everything works out the right way,” Diggs said.”
One last time to get those game predictions in this season!— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 5, 2023
“Are the Rams finally getting their “Run Game” together? Is it more touches for the RBs? Is the line given more complexity in their run-game blocking? Also, it seems their run plays weren’t so predictable and obvious.
Klein: The Rams’ rushing attack improved the last two games because running back Cam Akers finally appears to have regained the burst he had before suffering an Achilles injury before the 2021 season. Yes, that was a remarkable comeback he made for the final regular-season game and the playoffs, but he did not look anything like the player that flashed as a rookie in 2020. Coach Sean McVay has given Akers more opportunities, and the line has performed well of late. This late in the season, there are no complexities being worked into the system. If anything, they have tried to make it simple so it can be executed.”
“Rob Havenstein and Nick Scott are two players who are dealing with injuries in the final week of the season. Havenstein hurt his knee on Sunday but was estimated as a limited participant on Wednesday. He’s expected to play this weekend.
Scott was a full participant and is also expected to play against the Seahawks. He left the game briefly last week but was able to return. Tyler Higbee, Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner all got rest days.
The Seahawks’ side of the injury report is much longer, with players such as Tyler Lockett, Kenneth Walker and Noah Fant all missing practice due to injury.”
Long list of Seahawks not practicing today. pic.twitter.com/joxF6Br9WR— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) January 5, 2023
What Stats Truly Drive a Super Bowl Run? (twsn.net)
“2021-22 Los Angeles Rams
This one may be a sore subject for my fellow Bengals faithful, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. I haven’t rewatched the Super Bowl, and I’m not sure if I ever will. Fortunately for the Rams, what I do with my time doesn’t change the outcome one bit.
In the 2021 playoffs, the Rams outscored their four opponents 107-75. That roughly equates to a 27-19 average. But what powered the engine? Well, it certainly wasn’t their running game. They didn’t have a single rusher eclipse the 60-yard mark the entire postseason (Sony Michel was the highest with 58 in the Wild Card round against Arizona). The offense as a whole averaged just 388 YPG, and Matt Stafford had a five to four touchdown/interception rate overall.
Here is what they did well.
They converted 47% of their 3rd-down conversions, an improvement of over three percent from the regular season. The defense forced five turnovers while allowing just 302 YPG, which is EASILY the lowest among the last five winners.
The Rams defense also allowed their opponents to convert just NINE of 46 3rd-down attempts in the postseason (under 20%!!!). That was less than half of the 41% they allowed in the regular season, and just a ridiculous number.
Another key stat was that the Rams committed an average of just 28 yards worth of penalties per game. That was even more impressive considering they were number two in the NFL with only 37 penalty YPG in the regular season (the Bengals were number one…had to slip that one in there).
Overall this was a team that was unimpressive on offense, but disciplined on both sides of the ball, especially on 3rd down. Despite a minus two turnover differential in the playoffs, the Rams made damn sure they didn’t beat themselves.”
“Welcome to the final week of the regular season. First of all, thanks for following along this year. Hopefully we won you some money, or at the very least gave you some food for thought on your picks. Gambling pays my internet bill, but not my mortgage. It’s more for fun than anything. With that being said, this is the WORST week to throw money on the NFL.
It’s difficult to guess which teams with nothing to gain or lose will show up, and which one’s won’t. Plus, for the teams that are starting their starters when they don’t need to start their starters, will those starters play the whole game, or just the first half?
Here’s a look at what I’m thinking this week. As always, credit to the CBS Sports research team for making me sound smart.
All odds come courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Top five picks ATS record: 39-44-1
Overall ATS record: 125-123-7
Straight up record: 166-87-2”
“Bills-Bengals most likely will not be played. The players don’t want to do it. And there’s no good way to fit it into the schedule.
The best bad solution in this regard would be to play the NFC wild-card round and Bills-Bengals next weekend, with the AFC wild-card round being played the next weekend. This would wipe out the week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. There’s no appetite for that approach.
The question then becomes seeding the AFC playoffs without Bills-Bengals. Winning percentage becomes the most obvious method. But there are concerns about equity, given that the winner of the Bills-Bengals game would have been in position to be one of the top seed AFC seeds.
One possibility would be to add an eighth team to the playoff field in the AFC. This would eliminate the bye for the No. 1 seed.
To ensure competitive balance, there would have to be eight teams in the NFC, too.
The NFL Players Association would have to agree to a temporary expansion of the playoff field.
Discussions also are continuing on the possibility of making the AFC Championship a neutral-site game. The problem with this approach is that if, for example, a team other than the Bills, Chiefs, or Bengals qualifies for the game, there’s no need to use a neutral site.
However it plays out, a decision needs to be made soon — especially if the playoff field will unexpectedly grow, in both conferences. It changes the dynamics for the teams vying for playoff positioning.”
Lookin' to close out the season with a W!— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 5, 2023