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  1. #1
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Playoff Picture Becomes Clearer

    Playoff Picture Becomes Clearer
    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Less than 24 hours after beating Washington 37-31, the Rams turned into the Redskins biggest fans.

    Left for dead after back to back losses to Arizona and Chicago dropped them to 5-8; the Rams have won two in a row and somehow have remained in the playoff race. After Sunday’s win, St. Louis finds itself heading to Minnesota with a 7-8 record and firmly in the mix for the NFC’s final playoff spot.

    Granted, the Rams will need plenty of help to land in the postseason, but what once seemed far fetched isn’t so crazy heading into the final week of the NFL season.

    Rams coach Scott Linehan said last week that the Rams needed to take care of business against Washington before he would look at the playoff scenarios. The Rams did take care of that piece of business and got necessary help from other teams to stay alive.

    Now, Linehan is fully informed of what needs to happy for his team to play in January.

    “Until someone says you’re eliminated, you’re not,” Linehan said. “We had a very good example—this particular team made it to the playoffs in 2004, and it wasn’t 5-8, they were 6-8, but they ended up getting in, going on the road and beating Seattle. Nothing’s impossible, and you never look at it that way.”

    Indeed that 2004 team showed enough fight at the end of the season and came up with an overtime win against the Jets to secure a playoff spot. Of course, that team needed help from other areas to get in as well.

    Coincidentally, the team the Rams just beat is now their best friend. For the Rams to get in the playoffs, four things must happen. They must beat Minnesota on the road and hope that three other home teams are able to come up with victories.

    Those three games of meaning are New York at Washington, Carolina at New Orleans and Atlanta at Philadelphia. The Rams need the Redskins, the Saints and the Eagles to win combined with a win of their own to get in.

    “I’ve got the scenarios down, but again, if we take care of ourselves, we know there’s no guarantee and we’ve got to get some help, but that’s all we can do and that’s all we can ask at this point,” Linehan said. “At least we have an idea of who’s going to need to win for us to get in. Again, the focus is, for us, it doesn’t matter if we don’t win the game, and we need to take care of that. Then we’ll pay attention to everything else that’s going on.”

    In a far less likely scenario, the Rams could get in with a win and ties in the other three games. But none of the other stuff will matter if the Redskins don’t win on Saturday night against the Giants.

    That is the game that will determine if Sunday’s games have any meaning. To be sure, the Rams will watch that Saturday night game from the team hotel in Minneapolis with a sincere rooting interest. But Linehan hopes to keep the focus on getting a win against the Vikings, improving to 8-8 and then letting the rest of the picture take shape.

    “I’m not concerned about it,” Linehan said. “We know we’re working on a lot of things, one of them being to go 8-8 and give ourselves a chance to get in the playoffs. We know we’re going to need some help, and if that doesn’t happen, we’re still playing for a lot of things. One of them is we wanted to improve this year based on where we were when we started the year as far as where the team ended up in a previous year and things like that. There’s been some trials and tribulations so to speak to get there, but I think they’ve done it the right way. (We’ve) put ourselves in a position, at least, to talk about the playoffs at this point. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but our guys will put out a great effort regardless.”

    If history is any indication, the Rams should have plenty to play for when Sunday’s game kicks off at noon. In that 2004 season, the Rams needed some help to get in the playoffs combined with a win against the Jets.

    Not long before the Rams pulled off that win in overtime, the news came that the Vikings had lost a road game that made the Rams path to the playoffs clear. And the team that beat Minnesota in that game? The Washington Redskins.

    As for the other games, Philadelphia has plenty to gain by knocking off the Falcons. After the Eagles beat Dallas on Monday, they put themselves in a position to clinch the NFC East Division and a home game in the first round of the playoffs. To do that, Philadelphia must beat Atlanta so expect maximum effort from the Eagles this weekend.

    On the other hand, it would appear that New Orleans has nothing to play for against Carolina at home. The Saints have wrapped up the second seed in the NFC and will play at home after a first round bye. But Carolina could be without quarterback Jake Delhomme and has struggled offensively with Chris Weinke in his place.

    Regardless, if the Redskins win on Saturday night, nothing that happens Sunday will matter unless the Rams get a win against the Vikings.

    “We knew if we were going to get in, we’re going to have to end up with eight wins,” Linehan said. “We certainly kept our focus there. We’re no different now than we were then. We’ve still got another game to take care of that will give us, at least, a chance to get in. Our guys have held on to that.”

    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  2. #2
    Wolf Guest

    Re: Playoff Picture Becomes Clearer

    This is going to be a weekend full of stress.

    The Washington Redskins and New Orlean Saints need to do well for us. Those two games I'm nervous about. The New York Giants seem injury prone, so their depth is questionable. The Carolina Panthers have Jake Delhomme practicing once again, but I don't see a guy like Sean Payton giving the last regular season game at home away to the Carolina Panthers.

    Those two games I'm nervous about. Someone please tell me things will go good.

    I'm only sixteen and I feel this weekend will cause me to grow gray hairs.

  3. #3
    LA Rammer's Avatar
    LA Rammer is offline Registered User
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    Re: Playoff Picture Becomes Clearer

    Hopefully the hotel they are staying in has NFL Network or else its the hotel pub for them!

    It's Jim not Chris


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