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Seahawks have virtually no choice but to beat the Rams to win the NFC West

New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ playoff hopes are all but dead and so is the margin of error for the Seattle Seahawks.

New England unsurprisingly proved no match for the Los Angeles Rams, which means that Seattle will remain in 2nd place in the NFC West regardless of what they do against the New York Jets.

It was only last week that the Seahawks had a one game lead over the Rams and thus needed to just keep winning and hope for a Rams loss to either the Arizona Cardinals or New England Patriots to assure themselves of breathing room ahead of the Week 16 rematch. This would’ve opened the possibility of flat out officially winning the division against the Rams.

Well the Seahawks botched the New York Giants game and the Rams won both of their games. So here’s what we have:

1.) Los Angeles Rams (9-4, 2-2 DIV)

2.) Seattle Seahawks (8-4, 2-2 DIV)

3.) Arizona Cardinals (6-6, 2-2 DIV)

4.) San Francisco 49ers (5-7, 2-2 DIV)

Ignore the Cardinals and 49ers as their hopes of a division title are slim.

Remaining Rams schedule: vs. Jets, at Seahawks, vs. Cardinals

Remaining Seahawks schedule: vs. Jets, at Washington, vs. Rams, at 49ers

There is now no way for the Seahawks to be two games up on the Rams before Week 16. That leaves Seattle with essentially no choice but to win the rematch and likely no choice but to win the rematch against the 49ers.

This does not necessarily mean Seattle has to win out, though. As long as they go at least 1-1 against the New York Jets and Washington Football Team, they’ll be no worse than a game back of the Rams. Due to the divisional tiebreaker, if the Seahawks beat the Rams in the rematch then they’re back on top.

However, it would then come down to Week 17. If Seattle beats the Niners, they win the division. If not, they have to bank on the Cardinals to beat the Rams for the first time since Sean McVay became head coach. I don’t like those odds.

If you want the one way the Seahawks can win the NFC West without beating the Rams, it involves Seattle winning their other three games and Los Angeles dropping the Jets and Cardinals games. Again, extremely unlikely.

To summarize: Win this weekend, beat the Rams, and then beat the 49ers. The #1 seed is a pipe dream and chances are so is the #2 seed. But I’d rather be the #3 seed in a tough matchup with the Vikings, Buccaneers, etc. than going on the road and possibly to Washington, home of the league’s worst playing surface.