The Los Angeles Rams have surprised a lot of people with their performance in the 2023 regular season. With a record of 8-7, they are currently holding the No. 6 seed in the NFC and could move one step closer to clinching a playoff spot in Week 17 against the New York Giants.
A victory would go a long way in helping Los Angeles clinch a Wild Card spot. If they win and the Seattle Seahawks lose, they will clinch a berth. Or, if they are victorious and there is a tie in the game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, the Rams will advance.
Defeating the Giants would certainly take some pressure off the Rams, who are heading on the road in Week 18 to face the San Francisco 49ers. To avoid that being a must-win game, Los Angeles needs to handle business heading on the road to New York in Week 17.
The Rams are playing some excellent football, riding a two-game winning streak. They have won five out of six games since their Week 10 bye, while the Giants come into the game on a two-game losing streak.
If Los Angeles is going to get the victory, they will need another strong performance from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford is one player New York knows they need to slow down to pick up the upset, and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale had some major praise for the veteran.
Martindale believes that Stafford should be involved in the MVP race along with Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson is the odds-on favorite currently for the award, while Stafford is much lower on the list, lined at +12000, the 14th best odds to win.
While he isn’t garnering much attention for the award, Martindale is right that Stafford’s performance this season deserves more praise. He has completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,648 yards, throwing 23 touchdowns compared to only nine interceptions.
Stafford has thrown multiple touchdowns in five straight games, the last four of which have been done with zero interceptions. Seeing how poorly the offense performed in Week 9, a game which Stafford missed because of injury and was replaced by Brett Rypien, only strengthens his case of being MVP.
While Stafford may not win the award, it would not be surprising if he does receive a few votes. The race is wide open and leading the Rams to the playoffs, based on projections for the team entering the season, would be an impressive achievement.