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Are Rams playing themselves into the worst place to be in the NFL?

Are Rams playing themselves into mediocrity this season?

NFL: OCT 22 Steelers at Rams Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the NFL, there is one place that you don’t want to be and that’s right smack-dab in the middle. Sitting at 3-4 through seven games, that’s exactly where the Los Angeles Rams sit. They aren’t bad enough to be in the discussion for a top-10 pick yet, but they also aren’t quite good enough to be in the playoff conversation. Stuck in the middle, the Rams likely won’t be active at the trade deadline.

If the season were to end today, the Rams would be sitting as the ninth seed in the NFC, just missing out on a playoff spot. They would also hold the 15th overall pick.

Again, not quite bad enough to be in the discussion for a top-10 pick, but not good enough to make the playoffs. The Rams lived in this area under Jeff Fisher. Following seasons coached by Fisher, the Rams held the 16th, 13th, 10th, and 15th overall picks. Twice the Rams traded into the top-10 to draft Jared Goff and Tavon Austin.

With the 15th overall pick in the 2024 draft, the Rams would be playing themselves out of blue-chip prospects such as tackles Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Joe Alt and at this point would have no chance at Drake Maye or Caleb Williams.

Now, this isn’t an argument for the Rams tanking. They are still very much in control of their own destiny. While they’ve lost two very winnable games, nine wins is still possible and that might be enough to get into the postseason. With games against the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Washington Commanders, and Seattle Seahawks still to play, these are all teams that will likely be competing for that seventh playoff spot.

It’s worth playing for a playoff spot, even if that ends up being as the seventh seed and going against the second seed. At the very least that builds morale for a young team and takes momentum into next season. For a team that missed the playoffs for over a decade pre-McVay, playoff runs, even if short, should be appreciated.

However, at some point they’ll need to come to terms with what they are this season. It’s worth noting that the Chicago Bears were 3-4 at this point in 2022. They still managed to end up with the number one overall pick. It seems unlikely that the Rams would completely lose out like the Bears did, but it also adds some perspective. The Rams can really go either way right now.

Again, there will come a time over the next few weeks where the Rams will need to look at themselves in the mirror. Is that after a potential loss to the Cowboys or at the bye week? Too late and they may just play themselves into the NFL’s field of mediocrity which is exactly where they don’t want to be entering a “stock up on talent” offseason.