The Los Angeles Rams had little trouble against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football and opened Week 14 with a 24-3 win. The Rams improve to 9-4 and take a half game lead on the Seahawks in the NFC West. The Patriots drop to 6-7 and are now 2.5 games back of the Colts and Dolphins for the final two wild card spots.
This game was all about the Rams defense and Cam Akers on the ground. The Rams held the Patriots to 220 total yards. The pass rush was ferocious, with Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers each grabbing two sacks. On the other side of the ball, Akers rushed for 171 yards and added another 23 yards receiving. The Rams jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half and the Patriots never cut the deficit to less than two touchdowns.
The Rams were five-point favorites coming into this game, and it’s a big win for their playoff push. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, but Seattle hosts LA in Week 16. I wouldn’t be surprised if that matchup decided the NFC West race. Even still, the Rams are going to the playoffs in some form or fashion.
Meanwhile, the Patriots are still alive in the playoff race, but time is running out. The best case scenario coming out of Week 14 is they are two games back of the two wild card teams with three weeks remaining. The Patriots do face the Dolphins, but with two 7-5 teams in between them as well, the Patriots’ playoff chances are circling the drain.