NFC playoff picture: Where the Rams stand entering Week 18

·3 min read

The Rams secured a much-needed win over the Ravens on Sunday afternoon, their fifth straight victory since the start of December. The win helped keep the Rams ahead of the Cardinals, who also won on Sunday against the Cowboys.

There was quite a bit of shifting in the NFC playoff picture, with the Rams moving up to No. 2 and the Cowboys dropping to fourth. The Eagles also clinched a playoff berth and the 49ers improved to 9-7, moving one step closer to securing a spot of their own.

But the seeding within the conference is still very fluid and the Rams could finish anywhere from second to fifth depending on Week 18’s results. Here’s an updated look at the playoff picture entering the final week of the season.

NFC standings

  1. Packers (13-3) – clinched No. 1 seed

  2. Rams (12-4) – clinched playoff berth

  3. Buccaneers (12-4) – clinched NFC South

  4. Cowboys (11-5) – clinched NFC East

  5. Cardinals (11-5) – clinched playoff berth

  6. 49ers (9-7)

  7. Eagles (9-7) – clinched playoff berth

  8. Saints (8-8)

There are a couple of bizarre situations in the NFC right now. The Rams currently hold the No. 2 seed in the conference but they still haven’t clinched their own division, which means they could finish anywhere from the second seed to the fifth as a wild-card team depending on what happens in Week 18.

The 49ers are the sixth seed and haven’t clinched a playoff berth, but the Eagles already have despite being the seventh seed. So if the 49ers lose and the Saints win next week, the 49ers will miss the playoffs.

Playoff matchups if the season ended today

1. Packers: first-round bye

2. Rams vs. 7. Eagles

3. Buccaneers vs. 6. 49ers

4. Cowboys vs. 5. Cardinals

The Rams’ projected playoff matchup has improved since last week. By moving up to the No. 2 seed, the Rams would now host the Eagles instead of the 49ers, which is much more favorable considering they’ve lost five straight to San Francisco and would have to play Kyle Shanahan’s team in back-to-back weeks.

It’s still possible for the Rams to match up with the 49ers in the first round, though. If they win and the Saints lose, the Rams will host the 49ers on wild-card weekend. Also, if the Rams lose, and the Saints, Eagles, Seahawks and Panthers all win, the Rams will be the third seed with San Francisco in the No. 6 spot.

As long as the Rams beat San Francisco, they’ll earn the No. 2 seed and host either the Saints, 49ers or Eagles.

Up next

  1. Packers: at Lions (2-13-1)

  2. Rams: vs. 49ers (9-7)

  3. Buccaneers: vs. Panthers (5-11)

  4. Cowboys: at Eagles (9-7)

  5. Cardinals: vs. Seahawks (6-10)

  6. 49ers: at Rams (12-4)

  7. Eagles: vs. Cowboys (11-5)

The Rams have one of the toughest matchups in the conference to close out the season, hosting the 49ers. There’s a lot riding on this game, as well as the Cardinals-Seahawks matchup.

Both games will be played in the late-afternoon window at 4:25 p.m. ET, so there will be no competitive advantage for either team with a chance to rest their players depending on what happened in the other game.

The NFL moved the Cowboys-Eagles game to Saturday night, so they’ll wrap up their regular season a day earlier than the rest of the NFC.

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