As we head into December, the NFC playoff picture is coming more and more into focus. And while no teams have officially clinched their spots as of yet, several Week 14 matchups will have important implications for the playoffs.
The Rams' 32-16 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday helped keep their place atop the NFC West, retaining a one-game lead over the Seahawks. But an important matchup with the Eagles this weekend — who lost to Seattle — could alter Los Angeles' playoff picture moving forward.
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY:
At 9-3, L.A. is in a favorable position to host a playoff game in January. As the No. 3 seed in the NFC, the Rams would host the No. 6 Panthers in the Wild Card round at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
CURRENT NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
|Seed||Team||Comment||Record vs. NFC||Next|
||Vikings(10-2)||Minnesota kept rolling with a 14-9 win over the Falcons in Week 13. With a better strength of victory, the Vikings jumped over the Eagles for the No. 1 seed.||8-1||at Panthers (8-4)|
||Eagles(10-2)||Philadelphia lost to Seattle, 24-10, falling from No. 1 to No. 2. The Eagles still hold a four-game lead in the NFC East.||8-1||at Rams (9-3)|
||Rams(9-3)||The Rams beat the Cardinals, 32-16, securing their first winning season since 2003. With the victory, L.A.holds onto its one-game lead in the NFC West.||6-3||vs. Eagles (10-2)|
||Saints(9-3)||The Saints defeated the Panthers, 31-21, to establish a one-game lead in the NFC South.||7-2||at Falcons (7-5)|
||Seahawks(8-4)||Seattle's win over the Eagles kept the club one-game behind Los Angeles in the NFC West, and put the club above the Panthers and Falcons in the Wild Card race.||6-3||vs. Jaguars (8-4)|
||Panthers(8-4)||Though the Panthers lost last week, they still hold a one-game lead over Atlanta for the final NFC Wild Card spot.||4-4||vs. Vikings (10-2)|
In the Hunt:
- Atlanta Falcons (7-5)
- Detroit Lions (6-6)
- Green Bay Packers (6-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
- Washington Redskins (5-7)
- Arizona Cardinals (5-7)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)
OUTLOOK FOR WEEK 14:
This is a big weekend for the NFC as several playoff contenders will play one another. Below are some of the matchups and how various outcomes may affect the Rams:
1. No. 3 Rams vs. No. 2 Eagles
The Eagles head into the Coliseum as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. If L.A. defeats Philadelphia, the franchise would improve to the No. 2 seed behind Minnesota. But if the Rams lose to the Eagles, they would be, at worst, the NFC's No. 6 seed depending on the rest of the Week 14 results.
2. No. 5 Seahawks vs. No. 5 (AFC) Jaguars
The No. 5 Seahawks will travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars, who currently hold the fifth seed in the AFC. If Seattle were to lose on Sunday and the Rams were to win, L.A. would improve to a two-game lead over the Seahawks in the NFC West.
However, if the Seahawks were to beat the Jaguars and the Rams were to lose, L.A. would drop to a No. 5 or No. 6 seed and would be tied atop the NFC West. If that were to happen, Seattle would own the tiebreaker because it won the first head-to-head matchup with Los Angeles.
And finally, if the Seahawks and Rams both win, Los Angeles would hold its position in the division and improve to a No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
3. No. 4 Saints vs. No. 7 Falcons
In Week 14, the No. 4 seeded Saints will play host to the No. 7 Falcons, who are currently in the hunt for the playoffs this season. Atlanta fell to Minnesota last week, and New Orleans defeated Carolina.
4. No. 1 Vikings vs. No. 6 Panthers
Last, but certainly not least, the No. 1 Vikings will be up against the No. 6 Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE:
The Rams will clinch a trip to the playoffs if they defeat the Eagles and Detroit, Green Bay, Dallas, Carolina, and Atlanta all lose in Week 14.