What's left to say about the NFC West? It laughs in the face of our playoff scenarios; it takes the NFL's obsession with parity to the most absurd heights yet seen. It's now led by two 6-8 teams, following the St. Louis Rams' 27-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks' 34-18 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. A 5-9 team, the San Francisco 49ers, are still in the hunt—were until recently the team with the most momentum—despite losing 34-7 this week. Elsewhere the playoff picture is of competitors, fighting tooth and nail to an uncertain finish; in the NFC West the playoff picture is by Norman Rockwell, and it's of a bunch of 300 pound linemen in a three-legged race at a block party.â†µ
But the Rams' path to the playoffs is clearer than ever. They have to beat the 49ers, in spite of all their 5-9 momentum, and then they have to go to Seattle and beat the Seahawks. Beating the 49ers isn't totally necessary, if the Seahawks lose, too (and then the 49ers lose in Week 17), but it is necessary to keep the NFC West from positively dying of embarrassment.