February 23, 2024

The Rams, perhaps more than any other NFL team, benefited from their off week this season.

Since returning from their mid-November open date, the Rams have won five of six games — including victories over the Washington Commanders and the New Orleans Saints in a span of five days — and bolted into the playoff picture.

After defeating the Saints on Thursday night, the Rams now get a weekend holiday break before beginning preparation for their Dec. 31 game against the New York Giants in New Jersey.

There are concerns to ponder, however. In the forefront, the kicking game remains shaky.

Lucas Havrisik kicked three field goals but missed a 47-yard attempt that resulted in a 10-point swing. It was the second game in a row that Havrisik missed from less than 50 yards.

Havrisik has made 15 of 20 field-goal attempts since he replaced Brett Maher but has made only two of six attempts between 40 and 49 yards.

The Rams, however, will not bring in another kicker to compete with or replace Havrisik, coach Sean McVay said Friday during a video conference with reporters.

“That’s not something we’re interested in right now,” he said.

McVay pointed to the absence of long-snapper Alex Ward, who is on injured reserve because of a neck injury. Carson Tinker has been the long-snapper the last two games.

“I know the kicker is the one that everybody wants to kind of pin on, ‘Oh, it’s a missed kick,’ because he’s the one that gets tagged with the stat,” McVay said. “But there’s a lot of layers to it. … We want to figure out what’s the best way to get our whole operation tighter, and those will be things that we’ll look for.

“But as it relates to Lucas, that’s not something that we’re thinking about right now, other than continuing to move forward with him, and help him continue to have the best opportunity for success with everything that that process and procedure entails.”

Victories over the Giants and the San Francisco 49ers in their last two regular-season games would ensure the Rams an NFC playoff spot. The “mini-bye” will allow the Rams to “refresh and reset,” McVay said.

“I have total trust and confidence in the maturity of this group to appreciate their families for the next couple days but come back ready to rock ‘n’ roll on Tuesday and get ready for the Giants,” the coach said.

In their 30-22 victory over the Saints, the Rams got elite performances from offensive players such as quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Puka Nacua and running back Kyren Williams. Linebacker Ernest Jones and safety Jordan Fuller were among defensive stars.

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