Going into the final week of the NFL regular season, the Los Angeles Rams have no stakes of their own to play for. Not only have they been eliminated from postseason contention, but at 5-11, they have set a record for the most losses by a defending Super Bowl champion.
When the Rams take the field in Week 18 against the Seattle Seahawks though, what they can do is help out an old friend.
There is one NFC playoff spot still up for grabs and it comes down to the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Seahawks.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are on a roll having won four straight to get back in the mix. They now control their own destiny, just needing a win over the Lions on Sunday Night Football to clinch the final postseason berth.
Next in line after the Packers is the Seahawks, the Rams’ division rivals that they will play in their final game. Seattle needs to beat L.A. as well as see Green Bay lose to get the final spot.
The final, and most unlikely, scenario is Jared Goff and the Lions making the playoffs, and they need some help from the Rams. For Detroit to get that final spot, they need to take care of their own business against the Packers while the Rams need to beat the Seahawks.
Even though Goff’s tenure in L.A. didn’t end how anybody had hoped, there’s no doubt there’s still a lot of love for him in the Rams’ building. As a quarterback, Goff was one of the Rams’ captains for several years and still remains close with Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and so many others.
The problem for Goff and his new team is that Kupp, Donald and basically all of the other Rams stars will not be suiting up in Week 18.
The Rams have still been frisky in recent weeks though, winning two games and also coming close against the Seahawks in their first matchup at SoFi Stadium.
That was before Baker Mayfield came to town and gave the Rams a starting-caliber quarterback. Mayfield has been solid for L.A. in recent weeks, so maybe he can come up big one more time to help Goff and the Lions make the payoffs while also keeping a division rival out.
Goff is having really strong season with Lions
When the Rams ultimately decided to part ways with Goff after a subpar 2020 season, Sean McVay and his staff ultimately felt that his limitations were too much to overcome for a win-now team with Super Bowl aspirations.
In the first year after flipping Goff and draft picks for Matthew Stafford, they were ultimately proven right. Goff and the Lions had one of the worst records in the league while Stafford led L.A. to a Super Bowl victory.
This season hasn’t played out the same though as Stafford was recently shut down for the year with a neck injury while Goff has thrived, putting Detroit in a position to potentially make the playoffs while also showing that he may be the organization’s long-term answer at quarterback.
Still just 28 years old, Goff is having one of his best seasons, completing 64.9% of his passes for 4,214 yards with 29 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. The Lions rank fourth in the NFL at 27.1 points per game with Goff being a big reason for that.
Winning six of their last seven games, the Lions are definitely peaking at the right time. They need some help from Goff’s only team to keep it going though, so hopefully McVay and the Rams can help them out as a thank you for years of hard work given to the organization. As a former Lion himself, Stafford surely will be rooting for that.