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No matter where you finish the playoff picture, there’s one requirement to win a Super Bowl: You have to win at least three games in a row, all against some of the best teams in the league. For a team that doesn’t earn the No. 1 seed in either conference, it will have to win four straight, beginning on Wild Card Weekend and concluding in the Super Bowl.
If you look at the current playoff picture in the NFC, every team that currently holds a postseason berth has won at least three games in a row at some point this season – except the 9-5 Los Angeles Rams, that is.
It’s hard to believe, but even Washington has won three in a row, ripping off a four-game winning streak before losing to Seattle on Sunday. The Bucs and Cardinals have both done it, too. Heck, even the Giants, Bears and Vikings have pulled off a three-game winning streak at some point this season, and they’re not even currently holding playoff spots.
But yet the Rams sit at 9-5 with their longest winning streak only being two games – something they’ve done four times. But each time, they’ve failed to extend their hot streak to three games, losing to the Bills, the 49ers twice, and the Jets to snap their two-game streaks.
So what’s the reason for L.A.’s inability to win games consistently? It’s not as if the Rams are just running into more talented teams. The 49ers were decimated in Week 12 and still knocked off the Rams, and the Jets came into Week 15 at 0-13 before beating L.A.
For whatever reason, the Rams simply can’t find a way to get over the two-game hump and win a third straight. And it goes without saying that it’s a major problem as the postseason nears. If they can’t beat the Jets to win their third consecutive game, how are they going to beat three playoff teams in a row en route to a Super Bowl appearance?
In the Rams’ five losses this season, they’ve scored an average of 21 points per game. The defense isn’t what’s failed them in those defeats, allowing an average of only 26.7 points per game. That number would ideally be lower, but in their two losses to the 49ers, and their loss to the Jets, the defense allowed either 23 or 24 points.
Jared Goff certainly deserves some of the blame for the Rams’ struggles.
In five losses, Goff has completed just 60.2% of his passes for 1,281 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
In nine wins, he has a completion rate of 72.8%, 2,437 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Obviously his numbers are going to be better in wins, but that’s a huge discrepancy. It’s not as if he’s playing well when the Rams lose. He’s one of the biggest reasons the Rams are losing when they do.
Los Angeles won’t have an opportunity to rip off three wins before the postseason, since only two games remain. But if it can beat the Seahawks and Cardinals in the next two weeks, it’ll go a long way toward building momentum heading into the playoffs.
Hopefully then the Rams can get over the hump and finally win a third straight game in the first round of the playoffs. Otherwise, this troubling trend could rear its ugly head again.