THOUSAND OAKS — Rams quarterback Jared Goff majored in sociology at Cal, and apparently the football schedule didn’t allow for any theater classes. Goff’s dramatic straight face needs a bit of work.
“We’ve got Minnesota next week, right?” Goff said. “I don’t know who we have after that.”
Well, after the Rams play the Vikings (7-2) on Sunday, they face New Orleans (7-2). Then it’s Philadelphia (8-1) two weeks later. They face another current division leader, Tennessee, on Christmas Eve.
“Do we?” Goff said, before he finally cracked and acknowledged that, yes, he is aware of the schedule. These are fun times for the Rams, who are 7-2, atop the NFC West and on a four-game winning streak, but now they enter the meat of their schedule with a chance to define how they will be remembered.
“It’s a good challenge for us to see where we are as a team,” running back Todd Gurley said after the Rams beat Houston on Sunday. “We want to be in the playoffs and right now, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we will. These teams are going to be in the playoffs as well, so it’s a great challenge for us.”
The simple math looks good for the Rams. Arizona (4-5) and San Francisco (1-9) also are on the December schedule, so victories in those games, and one win in a quintet of games against Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle and Tennessee would get the Rams to 10-6.
In the past six seasons, 63 of 67 teams that finished with a 10-6 record or better have made the playoffs. No 11-5 team has missed the playoffs since New England in 2008, through a tiebreaker.
So even if the Rams go 4-4 the rest of the way, they’re seemingly in line for their first playoff appearance since 2004. The more relevant question, at least at this point, might be whether the Rams will limp into the playoffs or whether they will finish strong and stamp themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
Good luck getting any comment on that. Rams coach Sean McVay barely flinched Monday when reminded that the Rams will play Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of this season’s Super Bowl.
“If we don’t get to our eighth win, then nothing else matters,” McVay said in his news conference at Cal Lutheran. “You kind of speak something into existence when you talk about it so often. You almost really do put blinders on, because of what a competitive, tough league this is, and how humbling.
“Certainly you have an awareness of what is going on. That’s not to say you…