On a day when the 49ers and Eagles both took their first losses of the season, the Los Angeles Rams put together their second complete win over an NFC West opponent this year and improved to 3-3 with at least a temporary hold on the final wild card spot in the conference. Yes, it is still very early in the season relative to when the postseason seeds will actually matter, but the Rams are back where they want to be with 11 games left on the schedule:
The Rams beat the Cardinals 23-9 and are back at .500 with a point differential of 138 scored against 117 given up, good for +21. That’s even better than the Seattle Seahawks, a team that fell to 3-2 on Sunday with a 17-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, meaning that L.A. now has the same number of wins as the team in second place in the division.
Given that the L.A. Rams also beat the Seahawks 30-13 in Week 1, Sean McVay has his team in as good of a position as they could hope to be in after having lost three of four prior to this win over the Cardinals.
And though it might still be a dream on a wish on a prayer, the Rams are one game closer to the San Francisco 49ers for the division lead.
The 49ers lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to fall to 5-1. Brock Purdy had his worst game as a pro quarterback, going 12-of-27 for 125 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Browns have the best defense in the NFL and that was apparent against San Francisco this week. The 49ers play the Vikings and Bengals in the next two weeks, prior to a bye.
The Eagles remain in first place in the NFC despite losing 20-14 to the New York Jets on the back of three interceptions by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia is 5-1, a week after beating the Rams 23-14.
Fresh off of this win against the Cardinals, the Rams next host the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team with a great pass rush by ranked 30th in yards and 30th in points per drive. If the Rams can manage a win over the Steelers next week, they’ll be 4-3 prior to two road games against the Cowboys and Packers before going into their bye.
It may be before midseason, but there were many who felt that the Rams couldn’t get three wins all season long. Now the Rams are 3-3 with a lot of time left for these new teammates to keep figuring each other out, developing chemistry, and competing for an NFC wild card spot.