SEATTLE — Fret no longer about the Rams looking ahead. The target game has arrived.
The day that seemed impossible in February and improbable even in October has arrived. If the Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, they almost certainly will win their first NFC West title since 2003.
“It’s one of those games that you usually see other teams play in at the end of the year,” Rams running back Todd Gurley said, “and we’re in that situation this year, so it will be exciting.”
NFL playoff-clinching scenarios get wild in mid-December, but one is fairly straightforward. If the Rams (9-4) beat the Seahawks (8-5), they would have a two-game lead over Seattle with two games remaining for each team, and they would clinch the division with one more victory or one more Seattle loss.
Should the Rams lose Sunday, the teams would be tied with two games remaining, and the Seahawks would hold the tiebreaker (head-to-head results), so the Rams would have to finish with a better record.
So there’s no understating the significance of this one. The Rams have wobbled a bit of late, with losses in two of their last four games. Even with a loss to Seattle, their chances of earning a wild-card spot would remain strong, but on Sunday, the Rams have a chance to shake the last bit of little-brother feeling.
Seattle has won the division three of the past four years, and beat the Rams in October in the Coliseum, a game in which the Rams outgained the Seahawks but committed a crippling total of five turnovers.
The Rams have been excellent this season, far better than anyone’s preseason expectations, and the last doubt that remains is whether they win a tough road game late in the season, against a great defense.
The first chance came four weeks ago, at Minnesota, when the Rams scored a touchdown on their first drive but then were shut out for the rest of the game, totaled 254 yards and lost 24-7. Now, they face a similarly strong Seattle defense, in front of a similarly…