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How L.A. Can Clinch a Playoff Spot in Week 16

Posted Dec 20, 2017

The Rams’ clinching scenario this week is simple: Win and you’re in. But there are two other ways L.A. can clinch a playoff spot in Week 16.

Win.

After last week’s victory over the Seahawks, the Rams punching their ticket to the playoffs is as simple as can be: Win and they’re in.

Because L.A. holds a two-game lead in the NFC West with just two games to go, the Rams will clinch the division with a win in Week 16. That will mark the franchise’s first NFC West title since 2003.

But there are also two other ways in which Los Angeles can clinch its spot in the playoffs this week.

The first will also give the club the division title. If Seattle falls to Dallas this week, then L.A. will clinch the NFC West. By losing, the Seahawks would stay at least two games back with only one game to go — making it impossible for them to catch the Rams in the division race.

The third clinching scenario involves a trio of teams and would only guarantee the Rams a playoff berth — not necessarily the division.

For that to happen, the Lions must lose or tie, the Panthers must lose, and the Falcons must lose. That scenario would only realistically come into play if the Seahawks win and the Rams lose. That would allow L.A. to still clinch its playoff berth.

Got all that?

So the No. 3 Rams (10-4) will face the AFC’s No. 5 Titans (8-6) on the road.

No. 8 Seattle (8-6) will face No. 9 Dallas (8-6).

No. 7 Detroit (8-6) will face Cincinnati (5-9).

No. 5 Carolina (10-4) will face Tampa Bay (4-10).

And No. 6 Atlanta (9-5) will face No. 4 New Orleans (10-4).

Additionally, the NFC’s second seed could still be in play when the Rams kickoff on Sunday if the No. 2 Vikings fall to the Packers (7-7) on Saturday.

So if you’d like to see L.A. clinch this and/or get the highest seed possible, you’re rooting for the Packers on Saturday, then the Cowboys, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Saints on Sunday.

But again, the simplest scenario is for the Rams to just take care of business on the road at Tennessee and win. That will clinch the division and secure the franchise’s first playoff berth since the 2004 season.