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What Patriots-Rams Thursday Night Football means for NFL playoff picture

The Patriots and Rams both remain in the thick of the NFL playoff race. We break down what their Week 14 Thursday Night Football contest means for their chances.

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots greets Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams prior to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NFL returns for Week 14 with an inter-conference matchup on Thursday Night Football. The Los Angeles Rams host the New England Patriots, with both teams needing a win to boost their playoff chances.

The Rams enter Week 14 with an 8-4 record, are tied with the Seahawks atop the NFC West, and sit two games ahead of the third place Cardinals. The Rams hold the tiebreaker over the Seahawks due to a head-to-head win, but the two teams face off in Seattle in Week 16. LA could very well win that game, but every win is going to prove critical in an NFC West race that should come down to the wire.

The Patriots enter this game with a 6-6 record and have won four of their last five games. The final two AFC wild card teams — currently the Dolphins and Colts — are both 8-4. The Patriots are two games back of those teams, but also a game back of the 7-5 Raiders and Ravens. They’ve got their work cut out for them with a closing schedule that is among the more difficult in the league. They travel to face the Rams this week, travel to face the Dolphins in Week 15, and then host the Bills in Week 16. They do get to host the Jets to close out the season, but they have to win at least two of these next three for that game to matter, and very well might need to sweep their remaining games to get into the playoffs.

As of game day morning, the Rams are five-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.