Heading into Week 9, the Los Angeles Rams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the NFC playoff picture. However, despite back-to-back losses, the Rams are still just one game out of the NFC playoff race. With a win against the Green Bay Packers and a Houston Texans win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Rams are right back in control of the seventh seed in the NFC.
Looking at the latest projections from Pro Football Focus, the Rams have approximately a 35 percent chance of making the playoffs with a win against the Packers, but that drops down close to 10 percent with a loss. As it stands, the Rams have a 17 percent chance of landing a top-5 pick. A loss against the Packers and they would likely have a better chance of a top-5 pick than a playoff spot.
While overall outlook may be low following back-to-back losses, the Rams are still very much in control of their own destiny when it comes to the postseason. Over the final nine games of the season, the Rams will play five teams in the NFC that are also vying for the final playoff spot. That doesn’t mention that the Minnesota Vikings will be without their starting quarterback the remainder of the season following Kirk Cousins’ achilles injury.
The teams that the Rams are currently competing with would be the three competitive teams in the NFC South. One of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orleans Saints will also with that division. Nine wins likely wins the NFC South with the second place team and team competing for a wild card spot eight wins.
Remaining on the schedule after the bye week for the Rams is:
- vs. SEA
- @ ARI
- vs. CLE
- @ BAL
- vs. WAS
- vs. NO
- vs. SF
There are potentially 4-5 wins over the remaining games. If the Rams are 4-5 heading into the bye week with a win against the Packers, that would put Los Angeles in the eight to nine win range. That should be enough to at least be competing for the seventh seed in the NFC.
The Rams bye week could not have come at a better time. If they can beat the Packers and get to 4-5, they play the Seattle Seahawks coming out of the bye week. That’s a team that the Rams beat on the road in Week 1 and will have a chance to get back to .500. In two games, the outlook on the Rams season can change significantly.
A lot of this is moot, especially if Matthew Stafford is hurt and the Rams are without their starting quarterback. With that said, the season is also far from over.