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Last Minute Thoughts: Rams victory would mean 4-0 week for NFC West

LA could fall to last place in the division with a loss on Monday Night Football

NFL: SEP 17 49ers at Rams Photo by Kevin Reece/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There will be few outcomes in the NFL more surprising than the Arizona Cardinals’ takedown of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Arizona, who has routinely been penciled in for the number one overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, took it to the Cowboys—who are still reeling after losing star corner Trevon Diggs after a season-ending injury he suffered during practice this week.

The Cardinals’ big win comes on the heels of the San Francisco 49ers handling the New York Giants 30-12 on Thursday Night Football. San Francisco held Daniel Jones to just 137 yards passing and bottled up the run to allow only 29 yards.

The Seattle Seahawks also took care of business in Week 3—though at times the outcome was in doubt—by defeating a Bryce Young-less Carolina Panthers team. They’ll move to 2-1 on the young season after an upset loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the opener.

Ahead of Monday Night Football where the Rams will travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFC West is seemingly more competitive than we expected entering the year:

1 - 49ers: 3-0

2 - Seahawks: 2-1

3 - Rams: 1-1

4 - Cardinals: 1-2

While the Rams perhaps seem ready to return to contention sooner than anticipated, they need a win over the Bengals in order to keep pace with Seattle and avoid falling into a last place tie with Arizona. The Week 1 win over the Seahawks and a highly competitive follow-up performance against the 49ers are encouraging, but the wins must keep coming for Matthew Stafford and a young Los Angeles team.

There’s still no indication whether star quarterback Joe Burrow will suit up for Cincinnati on Monday night as he tests his ability to play on a lingering calf injury. Burrow initially injured his calf during the opening week of training camp. If he can’t go, former Washington product Jake Browning would make the start for the Bengals. Browning has spent four years on practice squads for first the Minnesota Vikings and then Cincinnati. This is his first year on an active roster as he earned the backup role to Burrow in the preseason.

The outcome of tonight’s game will tell us if the Rams are really contenders. After an unexpected Cardinals win over the Cowboys, LA needs a notch in the win column in order to keep pace in the NFC West.