When January rolls around and the playoff field is set, the upper tier of the NFC will certainly be looking back at Sunday’s battle in the Big Easy.
As we approach Week 9 of the NFL season, the majority of the league has played their eighth game. We’re halfway through the schedule, meaning the playoff picture is starting to take shape.
The importance of games in early November is sometimes overstated, given the fluctuation of results in the final weeks of the season. But when the Los Angeles Rams visit the New Orleans Saints in Week 9, home-field advantage may really be on the line.
The Rams, 8-0, and Saints, 6-1, enter week nine as two of only three teams in the NFL with fewer than two losses — the other being the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.
If head coach Sean McVay takes the Rams into the Big Easy and beats the Saints, Los Angeles will take a commanding 2.5 game lead over the NFC field. They’ll also hold the tiebreaker over potential challengers New Orleans and the Minnesota Vikings, with a key home matchup versus the Philadelphia Eagles looming in December. It’s difficulty to see any scenario in which the Rams surrender such a commanding lead over their final seven games against teams with a combined record of 25-28.
On the flip side, if the Saints fend off the Rams in the Superdome and give L.A. it’s first loss, both teams will have one loss with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. So even though the Rams have the softer schedule the rest of the way, they’d have to find a way to put a game of separation between themselves and New Orleans. At that point, it’s anyone’s guess what city the NFC playoffs might go through.
When the Week 9 dust settles, we’re either going to have an virtual lock for home-field or a murky view of the finish line. Either way, the football world is in for an epic display of fireworks Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.