The Los Angeles Rams playoff chances improved last week with not only their road blowout win in Arizona, but they also got help with Chicago defeating Minnesota the following night to conclude Week 12.
Running back Kyren Williams made his return from injury in a monumental way with 143 rushing yards on 16 carries while catching all six of his targets for 61 yards and two receiving touchdowns in the team’s 37-14 win in the desert.
The Rams, who still hold the No. 9 spot, are tied at 5-6 and in between Green Bay and New Orleans in the NFC playoff picture. All three teams are a half-game back of both Minnesota and Seattle with 6-6 records entering play on Sunday. The Seahawks have lost three straight, including on Thursday, while Minnesota has lost two straight.
Head coach Sean McVay said his players have to continue to execute the way they know how if they want to play later into January.
“I think the guys understood that if you take care of your business, then you keep playing games that have importance and you stay relevant in regard to (the playoffs). There’s still a lot of football left to be played. There’s still a lot of things we have to do to continue to take steps in the right direction, but all we can do is to have a good day today.”Sean McVay to reporters on Wednesday
Los Angeles, who has one of the toughest schedules down the stretch, now has to face two AFC North opponents in the next two weeks, who are both vying for a playoff spot.
Los Angeles Rams Vs Browns Matchup
This week, the Rams host the Cleveland Browns, who sit in the No. 6 spot of the AFC playoff picture, at 1:25 p.m. inside SoFi Stadium on Sunday before traveling across the country to face the top seed in the AFC at M&T Bank Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens at 10 a.m. on Dec. 10.
The Browns had their three-game winning streak snapped last week in Denver, losing to the Broncos 29-12.
After the game against Denver, the Browns flew out to Los Angeles and have spent the week in the City of Angels preparing for the Rams.
In that game, Cleveland quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson left the game after a big hit.
As a result, the team’s head coach, Kevin Stefanski said former Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco is in line to start if Thompson-Robinson cannot play (DTR has now been downgraded to OUT).
As much as the Browns quarterback situation is a thing to watch this week, the Rams cannot forget about their defense, led by the two-time All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, who is tied for third in the league with 13.5 sacks but has not practiced Wednesday or Thursday due to a shoulder injury.
“(They) make it an uncomfortable day for the quarterback, both in what they’re giving to you look-wise and also the challenges they present personnel-wise as well.”Quarterback Matthew Stafford said about how the Browns can challenge him and the offense.
The Browns have one of the best defenses, allowing 247.9 total yards per game, which is the best mark in the league, while allowing 19 points per game, which ranks seventh.
In addition, Cleveland allows opposing offenses to complete third downs at the lowest clip in the league at 27.1%.
However, the Browns also have their flaws on the defensive end, especially in the penalty aspect. The Cleveland defense has been penalized 77 times for 659 yards, which ranks in the bottom five among the 32 NFL teams.
The Rams have to continue their winning ways if they want to make any chance of playing meaningful football down the stretch later in the month into December and the final game in Week in January.
Having a three-game winning streak going into Baltimore is going to put the Rams in a better position heading into the final stretch as Los Angeles reaches the two-thirds mark of the season this week.