The Rams (12-4) reached the NFC playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons under coach Sean McVay. But Los Angeles still has work to do in Week 18 of the 2021 NFL season to win its first NFC West title in three years.
Here’s a breakdown of the Rams’ position before Sunday’s home game against the 49ers and how high they can end up knowing their seed scenarios:
How can the Rams win the NFC West?
The Rams, the current No. 2 seed in the NFC between the locked-in No. 1 Packers and the No. 3 Buccaneers, can clinch the division crown in one of two ways.
The Rams have a complete game advantage over the Cardinals (11-5), who are in second place and also clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs. A win or a draw maintains that advantage for a full game or a half game. However, the Rams have lost five straight games to the 49ers, including 31-10 in San Francisco in Week 10. The 49ers (9-7) won’t make it easy on Sunday afternoon as they are playing just to win. a wild card spot behind the Rams and Cardinals.
If the Rams lose to the 49ers for the second time, they also need the Cardinals to lose their NFC West home game to the Seahawks. Arizona is a slightly bigger favorite in that game than Los Angeles against San Francisco.
How high can the rams be sown?
No. 1 belongs to the Packers. But with a win, the Rams would be locked in at No. 2 no matter what the Buccaneers (12-4) do against the Panthers. The Rams have the head-to-head tiebreaker to beat the Buccaneers in Week 3.
But let’s say the Rams lose but still win the division because the Cardinals lose too. At 12-5, they would fall to No. 3 if the Buccaneers win and No. 4 if the Cowboys also beat the Eagles on Saturday. The Buccaneers will be a game ahead of the Rams in that case. The Cowboys would improve to 12-5 to equal the Rams and hold a decisive advantage in the conference record with a 10-3 record in the NFC.
If the Rams lose the division with a loss and a Cardinals win, they can’t finish below No. 5 at 12-5, as the best the No. 6 49ers or No. 7 Eagles can finish is two games. back with 10- 7.