Blaine Spencer previews the LA Rams’ upcoming NFL season after the Rams missed the playoffs for the first time in three years last season.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in three NFL seasons coming off a Super Bowl run, Head Coach Sean McVay wants to bring the Rams back to glory against some significant odds and showcase the start of his career has not been a fluke.
Last season, teams started to figure out the Rams, especially on offense, by stopping the run which makes the creativity in the offense backfire.
McVay attempts to return to the postseason with a much different cast without key contributers in Todd Gurley, Brandon Cooks, Donte Fowler Jr. and more. How McVay can replace the production will be a significant contributor to the Rams success.
The first significant component offensively is to get quarterback Jared Goff back on track who struggled in moments last season finishing with a career-low 86.5 passer rating and throwing 16 interceptions. Goff needs to show significant progress with his footwork to help his accuracy and decision making.
To fill the replacement of Gurley, the Rams selected Cam Akers from Florida State who is versatile with natural hands to be an immediate impact. He has solid potential but will have massive shoes to fill with Gurley gone. Last season, the Rams were 28th in the NFL in rushing on first down. To help the play-action offense of McVay, this needs to be significantly better.
Health on the line will be critical for this offense, last season they played five different offensive line combinations leading to uneven play. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods will need to carry the load as well with the deep-threat in Cooks gone.
The defense is all-based on the play of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Donald is considered by many as the best defensive player in the league. At defensive tackle, he is a disruptive player in the run and passing game. He has all the tools so it will be critical to be creative with him in order to continue his dominance.
Ramsey will be able to spread his wings at the cornerback position with his unique skill set. He will be covering the best player the entire season no matter the position if it is as an outside corner, slot corner or even a safety. He is one of those players who will take away half of the field.
The most important issue is to replace the leading tackler in Corey Littleton at linebacker. This will need to be done by committee because Littleton was one who plugged many of the defensive holes for the Rams. It is going to be extremely difficult to match his productivity. That is one question that still needs to be addressed.
The Rams will be a unique predicament this season by trying to supplement and fill so many key positions this season. It does not help being in the NFC West with the 49ers, Seahawks and even a rising Cardinals team.
I believe this season has the potential to be successful by having a pretty soft schedule against the AFC East and NFC East foes. However, I think the rest of the NFC is too good and the holes especially on offense may be too big.
I think the Rams will come up just short again this season of the playoffs and finish with the same record as last season. The Rams have +4000 odds to win the Super Bowl this season according to DraftKings.
Prediction: 9-7, 3rd in NFC West
The Rams do have a favorable schedule but it will all come down to the divisional record. I think this is where they will ultimately struggle which will lead to their demise. McVay will be able to maintain his creativity on offense but I feel the division is just too good for the team they have right now.
The Rams will be a formidable foe this season but the lack of depth will come back to haunt them. A team around .500 or just above is the team they have right now unless their superstars take their play to the next level.