Los Angeles Rams Rooting Guide: Who To Cheer For This Weekend For Rams Playoffs Hopes

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams took care of business and got a big home win inside SoFi Stadium, defeating the Washington Commanders, 28-20.

With the win, coupled with a Green Bay Packers’ loss to Tampa Bay, it put the Rams at the No. 7 spot in the NFC Playoff Picture.

Now, the Los Angeles Rams match up against another crucial NFC opponent on short rest, but luckily at home.

On four days rest, Los Angeles goes up against New Orleans, who both share the same record at 7-7.

“It’s a challenge because you’re accelerating what is normally a seven-day process into four days,” McVay said after Sunday’s game. “We’ve got the guys that are wired the right way, mentally and physically, to be able to turn over. You obviously have a modified week where you barely practice at all with a little bit of work on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to do a good job, as coaches, of putting a tight, clear plan that still gives us a chance to go execute against a team that’s in a very similar situation to us.”

In the NFC Playoff picture, Minnesota is currently the No. 6 seed with a 7-7 record, followed by Los Angeles, Seattle and New Orleans.

However, what is also interesting, is that New Orleans is also in a battle for a first-round home game being tied for the division lead at 7-7 in the NFC South with the Buccaneers.

Pertinent to the wild card, that’s what makes Thursday night’s matchup important because of the playoff implications with the winner getting the nod over the other in the head-to-head tiebreaker.

On Sunday, quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 25-of-33 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, including a long, 62-yard touchdown to wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who caught all eight targets for 111 yards in the win.

The Saints defense totaled seven sacks against the reigning NFC Player of the Week, Tommy DeVito, and the New York Giants in a 24-6 home victory in the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday.

Now, the two teams meet in Los Angeles with the winner looking to be in a better playoff position heading into the final two games of the season.

What Else The Los Angeles Rams Need To Boost Their Playoff Push

NFL: Washington Commanders at Los Angeles Rams
Dec 17, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass against the Washington Commanders during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 16, the Los Angeles Rams need some help to hold or increase their place in the playoff picture.

Currently, the Rams have a 49% chance to make the playoffs.

With a win against New Orleans, the Rams’ odds would increase to 71%, although a loss would drop the odds down to 9%, making this week as important as ever.

This week, the primary matchup to watch for the Rams is a battle between two NFC North teams. The Rams need to root for Detroit, who travel to Minnesota. A Rams’ win and a Vikings loss would push the Rams into the No. 6 spot heading into a Week 17 cross-country matchup against the Giants.

In addition, the four teams behind the duo of 7-7 squads at 6-8 are Atlanta and Green Bay. Seattle, who pulled off the home upset victory Monday night against Philadelphia with backup quarterback Drew Lock, travels to Tennessee to face the Titans. The Falcons host Indianapolis, who is currently in the No. 7 spot in the AFC playoff picture, and the Packers travel to Carolina, who played spoiler and defeated Atlanta, 9-7.

If Atlanta and Green Bay both lose, it shortens the number of teams of possibly surpassing the Rams in the playoff picture as the Rams face the Giants on Dec. 31 and travel to Santa Clara to face the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 7 to end the season.

That game against San Francisco could be a different story than the matchup during the second week of the season. If the 49ers have already clinched their playoff seeding and cannot move up or down, they might rest their starters to have them ready for the playoffs, which could mean an opportunity for Rams to get the win.

Also, because the Rams swept the Seahawks this season, they own the tiebreaker over their NFC West foe. That means if Los Angeles and Seattle are tied for the final playoff spot in three weeks, the Rams would get in and the Seahawks would not.

Winning out and finishing 10-7 would put the Rams in a better playoff position, rather than finishing 9-8 or worse and possibly hoping other teams lose.

However, as head coach Sean McVay has said, the team has to focus on the present if they want to reach the postseason in a few weeks.

“How we move forward and how we handle our business over the next 72 hours and then leading into the game on Thursday is what’s most important,” McVay said.