Week 11 is a big one in the NFC West – and really, the entire NFC playoff picture. The Seahawks open the week by hosting the Cardinals on Thursday night, and the Rams will cap it off by visiting the Buccaneers on Monday.
With a three-way tie at the top of the NFC West right now at 6-3, the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks are all in the hunt for a division crown. The winner of Thursday night’s game will take the lead in the West, potentially by one game over the other two teams.
So who should the Rams be rooting for between Seattle and Arizona? A tie would be ideal, but that’s not likely.
It’s a tough call, but we broke down the case for each team.
The case for the Seahawks
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The Rams have already beaten the Seahawks, which gives them an advantage over Seattle in the standings. They have yet to face the Cardinals, and with Arizona having a better divisional record, the Rams technically lose the tiebreaker in the NFC West. Based on that logic alone, the Rams should probably be rooting for the Seahawks. However, there are obviously other factors involved in this debate. The Seahawks have a much easier remaining schedule. In fact, based on opponent record, no team in the NFL has an easier schedule. Here’s a look at Seattle’s remaining slate of games after playing Arizona tonight: Remaining schedule Week 12: at Eagles Week 13: vs. Giants Week 14: vs. Jets Week 15: at Washington Week 16: vs. Rams Week 17: at 49ers They have a legitimate chance to run the table, facing three NFC East teams, as well as the Jets and banged-up 49ers. The Rams are by far their toughest opponent left, but Seattle could win its other five games after Week 11. If the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals and win five of their last six games afterwards, they’ll be 11-5, which could still be good enough to win the division. In that case, the Rams would have to go 6-1 the rest of the way, which will be tough. But if they’re able to sweep Seattle, it’ll essentially give them a half-game edge over the Seahawks based on head-to-head tiebreaker.
The case for the Cardinals
The Rams have yet to face the Cardinals, with two matchups still remaining. They’ll visit the Cardinals in Week 13 and host them in the season finale, which could decide the outcome of the division in Week 17. Arizona has the tiebreaker over the Rams based on divisional record, going 2-0 in the NFC West so far. The Rams are 1-1 with four games still remaining in the division. If Arizona wins on Thursday night, at worst it will be 3-3 in the NFC West, and that’s only if it gets swept by the Rams and loses to the 49ers. The Cardinals’ remaining schedule isn't necessarily tough, but it’s certainly harder than Seattle’s. Remaining schedule Week 12: at Patriots Week 13: vs. Rams Week 14: at Giants Week 15: vs. Eagles Week 16: vs. 49ers Week 17: at Rams At worst, the Cardinals will probably go 3-3 in their final six games. It’s hard to see them losing to the Giants, Eagles or 49ers, and even the Patriots aren’t exactly a tough opponent. If Arizona wins on Thursday and goes 3-3, it will be 10-6 – which is, again, just about a worst-case scenario. The Cardinals look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders with that high-powered offense and a defense that’s coming together. They’re not a team any opponent will want to face, and the Rams still have to face them twice.
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This is close to a toss-up. On one hand, the Rams already beat the Seahawks, and so rooting for them to win makes sense based on L.A. potentially holding the head-to-head tiebreaker if it beats Seattle in Week 16. On the other hand, Seattle has the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL and could run the table by winning its final six games. It would be hard for the Rams to match that mark, given their remaining games against the Bucs, Cardinals and Patriots – and not to mention, Seattle. No matter the result tonight, the Rams are going to be a half-game back in the NFC West. But I think they’d probably rather be a half-game behind Seattle than Arizona. They should be pulling for the Seahawks to win, knowing they already beat Seattle once.