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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams become big fans of 'Skins

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Wednesday, Dec. 27 2006

    FIRST ORDER The Redskins must beat or tie the Giants to keep Rams' hopes alive.

    LONG ODDS If that happens, the Rams still will need plenty of help from other
    teams.


    Scott Linehan wasn't wearing a Ladell Betts replica jersey Tuesday. Nor was he
    humming "Hail to the Redskins."

    But make no mistake, Linehan suddenly has become a fan of Washington's NFL
    team. Not to mention the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Four things must happen for the Rams to find themselves in the playoffs at 8-8:

    They must win their season finale at Minnesota (6-9) on Sunday.

    Carolina (7-8) must lose or tie at New Orleans (10-5).

    Atlanta (7-8) must lose or tie at Philadelphia (9-6).

    The New York Giants (7-8) must lose or tie at Washington (5-10).

    But nothing else matters if the Giants defeat Washington, because that game
    takes place Saturday night. The other three contests take place Sunday
    afternoon. If the Giants win Saturday night, the Rams will be eliminated from
    playoff consideration roughly 14 hours before they take the field against the
    Vikings at the Metrodome.

    Linehan said he isn't concerned about a letdown by the Rams on Sunday if the
    Giants win Saturday night.

    "We've put ourselves in a position at least to talk about the playoffs at this
    point," Linehan said. "And if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. But our
    guys will put out a great effort, regardless."

    If the Giants lose, Sunday could be very interesting for the Rams. In terms of
    playoff positioning, New Orleans is playing for nothing Sunday against
    Carolina. The Saints already have locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round
    bye and cannot overtake No. 1 seed Chicago. So it's entirely possible the
    Saints could rest some starters against Carolina.

    "Those are things that are out of our control," Linehan said. "We've just got
    to take care of our part and hopefully win the Minnesota game."

    The fact that the Rams are even talking playoffs is fairly remarkable given the
    fact that the team was 5-8 after a 42-27 Monday night loss to Chicago. A couple
    of weeks ago, a million things had to happen to get the Rams back in the
    playoff picture. Well, most of them have happened, including Rams victories
    over Oakland and Washington. And now "only" four things must happen on Saturday
    and Sunday.

    "Some of those (outside) things have worked in our favor to give us a chance to
    have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs," Linehan said. "Which really
    supports what we were preaching from the very get-go: 'You've just got to keep
    playing the games.'

    "So here we are. We're still outside looking in, needing a little bit of luck
    that things go our way. But we're in a lot better position than you would have
    thought a few weeks ago when we were 5-8. ... It was more of a dream than a
    reality. At least it's a little closer to the (reality)."

    Among the four other NFC teams with 7-8 records, the Rams would lose
    tiebreakers with three. Assuming the teams finish the regular season with 8-8
    records:

    Carolina wins the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of its 15-0 victory over
    the Rams on Nov. 19.

    The New York Giants win the conference record tiebreaker with a 7-5 NFC
    record compared to the Rams' 6-6.

    Atlanta wins the strength-of-victory tiebreaker, meaning the teams the
    Falcons have beaten have a better overall record than the teams the Rams have
    beaten.

    Only in the case of Green Bay the fifth NFC team with a 7-8 mark do the
    Rams hold the tiebreaker edge, by virtue of their 23-20 victory over the
    Packers on Oct. 8. So from a Rams standpoint, what the Packers do in their
    season finale Sunday at Chicago (13-2) isn't likely to matter.

    In the improbable event of a Rams tie with the Vikings, the Rams would need
    losses by the Giants, Carolina, Atlanta and Green Bay to make the playoffs at
    7-8-1.

    Last week, Linehan said he didn't even want to know what the playoff
    possibilities were until his team defeated Washington. After a 37-31 overtime
    victory over the Redskins, Linehan confessed that he didn't really know what
    the scenarios were in the jumbled NFC. He knows them now.

    "We've got a couple guys on our staff that have become playoff scenario
    experts," Linehan said. "But these games had to be completed this weekend, so
    we knew exactly what they were. Again, it doesn't matter if we don't win the
    (Minnesota) game. We've got to take care of that. ..."

    Even so, coaches always have to plan ahead, and Linehan has members of his
    staff doing some early preparation work on possible playoff opponents.

    "Our quality control coaches will work on it as if we are going to make the
    playoffs," Linehan said. "And we've got an idea of the most likely team or two."

    The Rams can only make the playoffs as a No. 6 seed, meaning they can only play
    on the road against the No. 3 seed in the wild-card round Jan. 6 or 7. The No.
    3 seed will be the NFC East champion, either Dallas or Philadelphia.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams become big fans of 'Skins

    Sweet! So we go to Dallas/Philly and kick some you know what!!!

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