NFC playoff picture: Did Rams get any help during Week 11 bye?

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The Rams could do nothing but sit back and watch as the rest of the NFL was in action during Week 11. They were off for their bye, which made it tough for them to move up in the standings.

The four teams ahead of them in the NFC all played, with the Bucs and Cardinals winning, and the Cowboys and Packers losing in Week 11. So while only two of the teams gained ground on the Rams, the Cardinals’ win was the one that hurt the most because Los Angeles is looking up at them in the West.

Here’s an updated look at the playoff picture heading into Week 12, with the Rams currently holding a wild-card berth.

Division leaders

1. Cardinals (9-2)

2. Packers (8-3)

3. Buccaneers (7-3)

4. Cowboys (7-3)

Week 11 was a mixed bag for the Rams when it comes to the division leaders, but it was mostly negative because the Cardinals won and moved another half-game ahead of Los Angeles. They’re now 9-2 and hold the tiebreaker against the Rams, so they have a fairly comfortable lead in the NFC West with one game still to be played against Los Angeles.

The Packers lost to the Vikings, dropping them to 8-3 on the year. That certainly helps the Rams, though it also puts Minnesota only two games back of the Rams for the fifth wild-card spot.

The Buccaneers blew out the Giants on Monday night to improve to 7-3. The Rams own the tiebreaker over Tampa Bay based on head-to-head record, so if the Rams can overtake the Cardinals for a top-four seed, they’ll be slotted ahead of the Bucs.

The Cowboys lost to the Chiefs and fell to 7-3, tied with the Rams. They have a good cushion over the 4-6 Eagles for the division lead, though, so Dallas’ record won’t matter to the Rams unless LA wins the division.

Wild-card teams

5. Rams (7-3)

6. Vikings (5-5)

7. Saints (5-5)

The Rams are in a good spot right now. They’re two games clear of the Vikings and Saints for the fourth seed, which as of now would put them in a first-round matchup with the Cowboys if the season ended today. They still have plenty of room to rise in the standings if they’re able to catch the Cardinals, putting the No. 1 seed in play still.

Essentially, it’ll come down to whether the Rams can beat the Cardinals and Packers in the next three weeks. If they lose both, they’ll likely be locked in as a wild-card team. If they win both, the top seed in the conference certainly won’t be out of reach.

The Saints don’t seem like much of a threat with Trevor Siemian at quarterback, but they keep hanging around at 5-5. The Rams shouldn’t worry too much about New Orleans.

In the hunt

8. 49ers (5-5)

9. Eagles (5-6)

10. Panthers (5-6)

11. Washington (4-6)

12. Falcons (4-6)

There’s a group of teams between 5-5 and 4-6 who are still alive in the playoff hunt. The 49ers are very much in the mix after winning their last two games by a combined score of 61-20 over the Rams and Jaguars. The Eagles have also won two straight, blowing out the Broncos and Saints after narrowly losing to the Chargers.

The Panthers have Cam Newton at quarterback now so they could still make some noise in the NFC, but they also just lost to Washington so it’s hard to see them as much of a threat in the NFC.

Washington and the Falcons are unlikely to make the playoffs, even though they’re just one game out of a postseason spot.

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