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NFC West title game moves to Sunday night

Brandon Mebane, Steven Jackson

The primary challenge presented by the selection of a prime-time game for flexing to the last night of the regular season comes from the fact that the night game needs to be relevant regardless of the outcome of any afternoon games.

This year, there’s only one game that falls into that category.

When the Rams travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks on Sunday, the winner will capture the NFC West title and the home playoff game that goes along with it.

If the Rams win, the champion will be 8-8.  If the Seahawks win, a losing record of 7-9 will be the “winning” record as far as the NFC West is concerned.

Before any of you assume that the NFC West champ will summarily be dismissed from the postseason in wild-card weekend, don’t forget that the 9-7 Cardinals widely were described as the worst team ever to secure a playoff berth two years ago, given multiple blowout losses, including a 47-7 defeat in Foxboro that came only two weeks before the wild-card round.  The Cards got it together and nearly won the Super Bowl.

Then again, the Cardinals had Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and Karlos Dansby and Darnell Dockett.  Really, how in the heck did that team only win nine games?

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39 Responses to “NFC West title game moves to Sunday night”
  1. steelers6pack says: Dec 26, 2010 11:00 PM

    This could be lowest rated Sunday night game ever! Borrrrringgggggggg

  2. digg2000 says: Dec 26, 2010 11:03 PM

    Because they couldn’t play defense.

  3. nfl4ever says: Dec 26, 2010 11:04 PM

    Ok good choice.

    Now if it snows a few inches or it sleets in Seattle, which is not out of the realm of possibilities will the commish move the game to Monday Night?

  4. sportsdrenched says: Dec 26, 2010 11:04 PM

    Yes!

    Sincerely,

    Fox Sports

  5. monkeesfan says: Dec 26, 2010 11:07 PM

    How could that 2008 Cardinals team win only nine games? Because they’re the Cardinals.

    This will be an interesting game as we’ll see a quarterback on the rise (Sam Bradford) take his team over a team no better off now than it was last season.

  6. drslick01 says: Dec 26, 2010 11:09 PM

    How does the Bears/Packers game not fulfill the requirements? If the Packers win they are in, correct?

  7. cardsmac says: Dec 26, 2010 11:11 PM

    Can’t believe Fox didn’t protect this game

  8. importantpftcomment says: Dec 26, 2010 11:13 PM

    As much as I hate to say it, unless Fox protected the GB/Bears game, I would think that game would be far more interesting to the masses than ANY game in the NFC West!

  9. Pacific NW Mark says: Dec 26, 2010 11:14 PM

    Clearly a decision made by someone who hasn’t watched a Seahawks game this year.

  10. ladybucsandsteelersnut says: Dec 26, 2010 11:18 PM

    What a rip. The last game of the season, and that’s the dribble their going to put on? Count me out.

  11. sportsdrenched says: Dec 26, 2010 11:25 PM

    Some one correct me if I’m wrong, but I beleive CBS and FOX do not get to protect any games for Week 17. In return, both networks get double-headers.

    I understand the play-off implications…but really?

  12. brncowin says: Dec 26, 2010 11:37 PM

    Week 17 has no protected games. This promises to be painful!

  13. drslick01 says: Dec 26, 2010 11:47 PM

    Fox/CBS cannot protect Week 17 games

  14. thestp says: Dec 26, 2010 11:51 PM

    I’m good with this, I mean, isn’t it better to watch a game that matters? Actually, I’m pulling for the Rams just because of the story. There are better teams playing but without any outright playoff implications. It’s an extra playoff game…

  15. canjura says: Dec 26, 2010 11:56 PM

    whatever, eff you guys. I’m glad my Rams have been moved to the Sunday night game, that way I don’t have to watch their scores on NFL.com and see their highlights on the NFL Redzone for once. :)

  16. mattlion says: Dec 27, 2010 12:09 AM

    I don’t have a problem with this – it will be very cut and dry, the winner gets the #4 seed in the NFC and the right to get lit up by the Saints (or someone else).

    Remember the debacle last season with the Bengals laying down for the Jets for the sole purpose of seeing them again the next week. There is no other game that is as “simple” as this one that will be sure to feature both teams going all out, with the possible exception of Bears/Packers (but, like last year, there is a good shot of a rematch the following weekend).

    Plus, Seattle is on the west coast so the 8:30 start time makes sense for them.

  17. goldsteel says: Dec 27, 2010 12:18 AM

    For the sake of the playoff format we should all be rooting for the Rams.

  18. SpartaChris says: Dec 27, 2010 12:37 AM

    drslick01 says:
    Dec 26, 2010 11:09 PM
    How does the Bears/Packers game not fulfill the requirements? If the Packers win they are in, correct?
    =======================
    Yes, win and they’re in, but it doesn’t fulfill the requirements. With both a Giants loss and a Bucs loss, GB would make the playoffs regardless of the outcome of the game against Chicago. And with a Philly loss, Chicago clinches a #2 seed, regardless of what happens.

    The only game that has a win, lose or die outcome is the Seahawks/Rams game. Sucks, but it’s football and with no Monday night game, ratings will probably be fine.

  19. bnwpnw says: Dec 27, 2010 12:51 AM

    Of course you move it to Sunday night. It’s a freakin’ playoff game.

  20. mizzouram says: Dec 27, 2010 12:56 AM

    #
    ladybucsandsteelersnut says: Dec 26, 2010 11:18 PM

    What a rip. The last game of the season, and that’s the dribble their going to put on? Count me out.
    ______________________________________
    Apparently you would rather watch a meaningless Steelers game with every starter riding the bench.

    I love how everyone come on here and cries but no one offers up a rational alternative.

    Gotta love the interenet

  21. damnskins703 says: Dec 27, 2010 1:02 AM

    Good for Seattle… The loudest stadium in the NFL by far

  22. trollaikman8 says: Dec 27, 2010 1:34 AM

    Can it move to the Moon?

  23. childressrulz says: Dec 27, 2010 1:45 AM

    You have got to be kidding. That entire division should be considered semi pro at this point. I think if Seattle wins the best seed to be would be number five. It might as well be an extra practice. Play your starters for a half and then sit them and watch your backups finish off Seattle. That is all Seattle would be is a nice little scrimmage game before the big game next week.

  24. childressrulz says: Dec 27, 2010 1:47 AM

    And from someone who has watched a few games in Seattle it is far from the loudest stadium in the NFL.

  25. theduuuuuuuuuude says: Dec 27, 2010 2:02 AM

    I am rooting hard for the Seahawks in this one, because it will force the NFL to deal with the absurd reality of a team with a losing record to make the playoffs. Hopefully the embarassment of such a fiasco might convince them to change the playoff stucture so that a team with a losing record will ever make it to the post season over a team with a better record that failed to win in a tougher division.

  26. dirksimmons says: Dec 27, 2010 2:05 AM

    Hmm…I realize that things could be settled already for the Bears and Packers come Sunday night, but it’s one of the most-storied rivalries in the NFL. They both could potentially have a lot at stake. And it’s a matchup between two WINNING teams, with much better TV markets than St. Louis or Seattle. I don’t see how you balk on picking that game up. I’d take the gamble and hope the Giants beat the Redskins.

    With that said, I’ve been dying to see Bradford in action all year. If the Rams go from the team with the number one pick to a playoff team in just one year, that’s a pretty intriguing story.

  27. blackcatnfl says: Dec 27, 2010 3:07 AM

    If Seattle wins this game, humanity will roll over in its grave. No team that horrible should be in contention in the final week of any season, anywhere.

  28. wallyhorse says: Dec 27, 2010 7:45 AM

    I thought for quite a while they would make this the Sunday night finale. It was the only game guaranteed to be meaningful by the time it kicked off, especially since it was obvious the NFL could not wait for tonight’s Bucs-Saints game to be played before deciding (I’m guessing because NBC needs to make travel arrangements as soon as possible because of it being New Year’s weekend, Bucs-Saints would be for the last wild card spot in the NFC if the Saints lose tonight).

  29. snaponrules says: Dec 27, 2010 8:17 AM

    They should have flexed the game to Thursday night night. Would go perfect with all the crap games they have shown all year. Couple that with the moron matt millan, the perfect combination to those 2 teams.
    Football canceled last Sunday by the NFL due to weather. Canceled next Sunday due to lack of interest by 99% of the country.

    And YES Mizzouram I would rather see the back ups on most teams play rather then the back ups (that are the starters) in ST. Louis and Seattle.

  30. nygfan says: Dec 27, 2010 8:20 AM

    I hope Seattle wins. The thought of a loosing record winning a division in the NFL is crazy!!

  31. randolph32 says: Dec 27, 2010 8:42 AM

    You complain about Matt Millen? Bob PAPPA is absolutely terrible….his middle name is ‘IN SPACE’, come one, give it a rest!!!!

  32. bwisnasky says: Dec 27, 2010 9:43 AM

    Way to end the season on a HIGH NOTE!

  33. gdive says: Dec 27, 2010 10:27 AM

    Do any of you have any perspective on this game? The Rams are the only team that has played well above expectations in the NFC West and have a rising young star QB that most people who are not Rams fans have not seen play this year. In addition to Bradford, the real reason for the Rams turnaround has been their defense. The Steelers, Giants and Chargers are tied for the NFL lead at 44 sacks. Guess whose 4th? Yes the Rams at 43 sacks and they’re doing it with players most average fans wouldn’t know which is a credit to their scheme and coaches. If the Rams had not blown several games in which they were winning in the 4th quarter against the Cards, Raiders, Bucs and 49ers, they could have easily been sitting on 10 wins now.

    The Rams don’t compare talent wise to the upper echelon teams in the NFC but they are a very good story and deserve to have their moment in the spotlight.

  34. 4sho58 says: Dec 27, 2010 11:24 AM

    Geesh, we live in a computer age… Is it so difficult to proof what is written? Or should we come to respect those who dont mind giving the impression they r illiterate? I guess this is more to confirm the state of the commentors on this or any site if you will… SMHead…

  35. chrismatthewsucks says: Dec 27, 2010 11:48 AM

    Ther rams had false starts with the effin Chiefs fans which was abou 15k fans, come ot seattle 65k fans screaming.. Bradford throws 5ints, and jackson has never had more then 85 yards in seattle.

  36. pftuser says: Dec 27, 2010 12:13 PM

    Nationally televised NFL equivalent of a bum fight. Three things are for sure. There will be a winner, it will be ugly, and if you watch, you are going to feel a bit dirty.

  37. mizzouram says: Dec 27, 2010 7:09 PM

    #
    snaponrules says: Dec 27, 2010 8:17 AM

    And YES Mizzouram I would rather see the back ups on most teams play rather then the back ups (that are the starters) in ST. Louis and Seattle.
    ______________________________________

    If you think Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford, OJ Atogwe, Chris Long, and James Laurenitis wouldn’t start for most other teams in the NFL then you obviously know nothing about football.

  38. Beer Cheese Soup says: Dec 28, 2010 2:26 PM

    theduuuuuuuuuude says:

    I am rooting hard for the Seahawks in this one, because it will force the NFL to deal with the absurd reality of a team with a losing record to make the playoffs. Hopefully the embarassment of such a fiasco might convince them to change the playoff stucture so that a team with a losing record will ever make it to the post season over a team with a better record that failed to win in a tougher division.
    ____________

    You’re absolutely right. It’s an unfair advantage for whichever team gets the extra bye week that is Seattle in the first round though.

    The Seahawks couldn’t even contend in the PAC-10 these days, even despite having a career college coach who has no business being in the NFL.

  39. mizzouram says: Jan 4, 2011 1:19 AM

    From NBC’s PR dept:

    January 3, 2011 – Last night’s “Sunday Night Football” game earned the best overnight rating in nearly a decade for the NFL’s season-ending game, including the best overnight for a Week 17 game in SNF history, and was up 11 percent over last year’s Week 17 game, according to overnight data released today by the Nielsen Company. The game, in which the Seattle Seahawks defeated the St. Louis Rams 16-6 in a ‘win-and-in’ contest to clinch the NFC West title, registered a 12.6 overnight rating and a 19 share.

    The 12.6/19 overnight rating is the best overnight rating in nine years for the NFL’s season-ending game (since 1/7/02, Min-Bal on ABC, 13.4/21).

    The overnight rating is an increase of 11 percent over last year’s Week 17 SNF (Bengals-Jets, 11.4/1Cool and is the highest season-ending overnight rating in the five-year history of “Sunday Night Football.”

    The rating peaked at a 13.4/23 from 11-11:15 p.m. ET at the end of the game.

    Ahhhh yes! Nothing is more satisfying than being right, even if it is to the gaggle of morons who post on the comment section.

    YOUR CROW IS SERVED!!!

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