Rams resting Matthew Stafford in Week 18 puts playoff matchup vs. Lions in jeopardy

The Los Angeles Rams will rest former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in Week 18, which could have a major impact on who the Detroit Lions play in the first round of the playoffs.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Some Detroit Lions fans may want cling to hope they can still be the No. 2 seed in the NFC, and there is a chance. If they beat the Minnesota Vikings in Week 18, and the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys both lose, the two-seed is theirs.

ESPN's current playoff picture gives that a two percent of happening. So as has seemed most likely all along, let's just say the Lions will be the No. 3 seed. It's just matter of who they'll host in the Wild Card Round, and the most likely opponents are the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packer. The Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and the Vikings have a slim chance to be Detroit's first playoff opponent.

For many Lions' fans, the idea of facing the Rams and former quarterback Matthew Stafford in the playoffs is about as appealing as seeing an ex-significant other again.

The Rams of course clinched a Wild Card spot in Week 17, with their sixth win in their last seven games as Stafford has been on a heater (104.5 passer rating, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions over that stretch. It's just a matter of if they'll be the No. 6 or No. 7 seed.

Apparently, they don't care which it is. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the Rams will rest Stafford in Week 18 against the San Francisco 49ers and start Carson Wentz under center.

The Rams will rest more key players than just Stafford on Sunday.

Rams resting Matthew Stafford has chance to impact Lions' first playoff opponent

If the resting Rams and Wentz beat the 49ers, who will also be resting starters since they are locked into the No. 1 seed, then they remain the sixth seed and would most likely play the Lions in the Wild Card Round when all of Sunday's results are in.

A loss by the Rams would open the door for the Green Bay Packers to beat the Chicago Bears and become the No. 6 seed. The Rams would, obviously, fall to No. 7. If the Rams and Packers both lose, the Rams stay at No. 6.

Assuming the Lions stay at the No. 3 seed, the Rams' decision to sit Stafford puts facing the Packers a third time this season more in play.


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