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Rams hope all the 'ifs' add up to title
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
It would be a bizarre climax to a bizarre regular season. But consider this: If the Rams defeat the New York Jets and Seattle loses to Atlanta, the Rams would host an NFC playoff game ... at 8-8.
Strange but true. Under the current NFL playoff format, all four division champions in the NFC - as well as all four in the AFC - are guaranteed to play their first playoff game at home.
If the Rams end up winning their third NFC West title in four years, they will play either Minnesota or Seattle sometime on the weekend of Jan. 8-9 at the Edward Jones Dome. Here's how:
If Minnesota wins its regular-season finale against Washington to finish 9-7 and Seattle loses to Atlanta to finish 8-8, the Vikings would be the No. 5 seed, and thus play at the home of the No. 4 seed (the Rams).
If Minnesota and Seattle both finish 8-8, Seattle gets the No. 5 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker edge over the Vikings. And it would be the Seahawks who travel to St. Louis - for their third meeting of the season against the Rams.
Even if Seattle defeats Atlanta to finish 9-7 and clinch the West, the Rams still can reach the playoffs as a wild-card entry if Minnesota loses to Washington to finish 8-8, and the Rams beat the Jets.
If that's the case, the Rams will open the playoffs as either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed:
As the No. 5 seed, the Rams would travel to Seattle, which would get the No. 4 seed as NFC West champs. Under this scenario, New Orleans defeats Carolina this Sunday, but Minnesota gets in the playoffs instead of New Orleans because the Vikings defeated the Saints in the regular season.
As the No. 6 seed, the Rams would travel to Green Bay, which has clinched the No. 3 seed. The Rams are the No. 6 seed if Carolina defeats New Orleans this Sunday, which would bump an 8-8 Minnesota squad out of the playoff picture.
And if you think all that sounds confusing, there is a third way that gets the Rams in the playoffs, albeit a very remote possibility. If Carolina and New Orleans play to a tie Sunday, both teams would finish 7-8-1, and neither team would get in should the Rams beat the Jets. If that happened, the Rams and Vikings would be the wild-card teams if Seattle wins the West by beating Atlanta.
But don't hold your breath on that one. Since the overtime system began in 1974, only 16 of 375 regular-season overtime games have ended in a tie at the conclusion of OT.
Following Monday night's 20-7 victory over Philadelphia, the Rams were just happy to be part of any postseason discussion.
"It's always good to be playing meaningful football in December," offensive tackle Orlando Pace said.
"It's thrilling," coach Mike Martz said. "After all the drama that we've been through this year, being in position to potentially be in the playoffs - how awesome is that?"
What needs to happen
The Rams have three ways of getting a playoff berth. In addition to winning their final game, the Rams need one of the following outcomes:
1. If Seattle loses to Atlanta, the Rams and Seahawks would finish with 8-8 records and the Rams would win the NFC West title by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker.
2. If Seattle wins and Minnesota loses to Washington, the Rams would earn a wild-card berth because of their better NFC record than the Vikings.
3. Even if Minnesota and Seattle win, the Rams can get in if New Orleans and Carolina tie. New Orleans and Carolina would finish 7-8-1.
Re: Rams hope all the 'ifs' add up to title
This is confusing....
I'll be rooting for Atlanta, Washington and The Rams this week.....
Go Rams, Go skins, Go falcons :redface:[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
-12-29-2004 #3talkstoangels61 Guest
Re: Rams hope all the 'ifs' add up to title
That'll be a big Amen!
Re: Rams hope all the 'ifs' add up to titleI'll be rooting for Atlanta, Washington and The Rams this week.....JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey
-12-30-2004 #5sprtsmac Guest
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